Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ebb and Flow

I think of myself as a person who enjoys the moment. Who notices the puffy clouds against the brilliant blue, variegated sky, who appreciates the woodpecker hard at work making his nest, who takes pleasure in the witty exchange overheard between teens passing through the park. I savor the goodness, I appreciate the abundant beauty that surrounds me. I seek its light as an antidote to the darkness that threatens the horizon.

But then there are days or weeks that come along when the pendulum seems too heavy on one side, where the shift from "bad things" to "good things" takes too long, and good things struggle to regain their weight. The scales are unbalanced; the "bad" requires twice as much "good" to counter its heft. This is nothing new, of course, and a recent entry shows that these musings are forever on my mind. I guess, though, that this time around, I feel a sense of urgency. This time, it feels like I need to appreciate and enjoy the goodness now, because my time is coming. In a sense, it feels like permission. Permission to enjoy the beautiful and warm day, almost as if the world is saying to me, although there are so many who are hurting right now, you'd better enjoy this time, your time, right now. Permission to enjoy goodness even though two of my closest friends are struggling in darkness. Because on a different gorgeous day, it will be my pain and their time to revel in the beauty - and I expect them to find the beauty when I cannot. This time, I'm fighting to enjoy the goodness because it is all I can find to do to occupy my hands and my heart and my hours.

Because right now, it is a mother, a husband, and a child who are suffering through some very dark days. Who struggle to see the beauty when their world is full of uncertainty and worry. My dear friend's mother's cancer has returned. My closest friend's husband - also our close friend - is in the midst of a sudden and serious illness. And the child in our community is still waging her battle against cancer - she is a warrior. And so the circle tightens and I cannot avoid any longer what it feels like to walk in each of their shoes. Mother - Husband - Child. In my own life, as I walk in their shoes, each one is so vital to my own existence. I struggle with the threats placed on each of them.

My friend, the one whose mother is so ill, always amazes me in her eloquence and articulate speech even amidst her pain. In a recent email, she included this quote, the source of which I believe comes from a praise song:

"There is a blessedness that comes through waiting on the Lord. There is an intimacy in our walk with the Lord that comes from walking through that valley. There is a reliance on His Word that we only know when everything else in life fades away."

Perhaps, then, this is my answer. I am not walking through their valley right now, but I can certainly see their valley. The valley offers its own beauties to behold. It is still our job to seek them, to see them, to continue to find them and discover them and share them. Light as the antidote to darkness.

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