Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gray Days & Gratitude

Autumn's Yet to Be Spring Garden
From this corner of the garden – literally and metaphorically – it’s a gray day.  No matter that in that respite I was able to clean up the scraggly remains of last autumn’s additions to the garden – I am grumpy because I can’t put in all the colorful annuals that herald a Texas spring, since a sudden frost remains a distinct possibility until late March.   Forget the blessed memory of the past few days of weather that was sunny & seventy; today is gray – somewhat oppressive – capturing perfectly my heart’s malaise. 

I am bewildered by the losses sustained by some friends, and the trials that others endure, especially the unimaginable burdens a young boy bears in a hospital bed in Maryland.   And the news headlines are as worrisome and perplexing as ever.  Looking back over three years of blog posts – news still takes a toll on the spirit and baffles the mind. 

If I can't plow up flowerbeds, then I'll dig around to find what others are thinking about hard times. 
Philip Yancy repeated a joke going around Sarajevo in their nightmare years that sums up this “new normal” that too many loved ones now have:

“Do you know the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? 

A pessimist says, ‘Oh dear, thing’s can’t possibly get any worse.’ An optimist says, “Don’t be so sad. Things always get worse.”

In sum, I avoid trying to answer the Why? question because any attempt will inevitably fall short and may even rub salt in an open wound. As Jesus’ followers, we can instead offer a loving and sympathetic presence that may bind wounds and heal a broken heart. . .
  . . . As a counterbalance to the list of seven deadly sins, the church in the Middle Ages came up with a list of seven works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, house the homeless, visit the sick, ransom the captives, bury the dead . . .

. . . not all of us can serve on the front lines of mercy . . . I . . . came up with an additional list of spiritual works of mercy: to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offences willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead. (Philip Yancey, The Question That Never Goes Away. pages 47,40, 41)

So, if Mr. Yancey is right, I see that I am never without something to do in the midst of heartache or upheaval."Gray" still has a good deal of light in it.

On this gray day then, I need to turn from what I can’t change, and change what I can; I will soak in the comforting, convicting counsel from Dr. Tony Evans:

You may think you don't have everything you want, but God expects you to be grateful for what you have.

·      I have a yard, with flowerbeds that are ready to be planted, when the weather permits, and I have time to pray.

·      Today, I have the health to hope for gardening chores, and time to pray.

·      I live in a country that remains the inspiration of people fighting tyrannies more grim than ever, and the freedom to pray.

And I managed to get a sweet arrangement of hearty winter pansies to remind me: It ain’t over yet.  If it were all bright and sunny and hot – the pansies would shrivel up.

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