Thursday, August 11, 2016

That Dry Spell

Sometimes life is dull.

And that is okay.  We just tend to think it isn't.  Our culture encourages us to follow our feelings (despite the horrible liars they are), so when we are just coasting along (you know, like most normal people), we may think something is wrong.

"Wait, I'm not feeling happy or sad or some other extreme emotion.  Help!" 

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for existential angst and enjoy lolling about in it on occasion.  But most of the time, life isn't on the extremes of drama.  We are usually not in the throws of tragedy and sorrow (though there have been years, yes years of it).  We are not often dancing on the top of the roller coaster with glee.  Usually life is very every day.  It is even a bit of a flat line.

And really.  That is fine.  It is okay.  It is life.

Sometimes even our spiritual life dips into the pattern of every-dayness.  We aren't begging for God's comfort in the storm and we aren't weeping tears of joyful thankfulness.  If we're not careful, we may believe that God doesn't care or worse, is not even there.

Currently I find myself in a place where I am not feeling that "dry" spell of God's absence.  I'm not in the valley and I'm not on the mountaintop.  I check in with God during prayer, "We're okay, right?  This is just daily living, right?"  Yes.  It is. 

Where I live has been in dire need of some rain fall.  The last couple of days we've had some showers that have provided relief.  Honestly, when I go out when the rain stops, it's almost like nature is sighing.

That's how it can be with our spiritual connection with God.  When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us.  And it is refreshing.  It is Living Water.  It is Life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lifting Our Eyes Unto the Hills

Olive's life is winding down after about eighteen years of serious naps.  She's been doing well until this morning.  She wasn't in the basement waiting for her breakfast as usual.  Considering past vet trips, I'm trying very hard to let her go on her own.  It's not easy. 

When people describe why they don't like cats, usually all those attributes apply to Olive.  She's always been unfriendly and skittish.  But Olive is the last of a special connection in my life, and for that she deserves some kind words.  (and I don't mean the words in her "Teach Your Cat To Read" book)
Olive is the last pet in the household that was here when Darren was alive.  All the dogs and cats I currently have (don't ask how many), have no memories connected with my life with Darren.
Despite all of Olive's crankiness, I still remember Darren helping me get a ladder from the barn and putting against the big maple by the road, where Olive seemingly arrived.  I remember scaling the ladder, plucking her off a high tree limb with some effort and sticking her like Velcro onto Darren's flannel jacket.  I distinctly remember the look of disgust on Darren's face that yet another cat had been dumped at our property.  And the look on my face that said, "But we're keeping her anyway."
I remember many friends and family visiting our home and Darren trying to convince them to take  Olive as a door prize (no takers).  Over the last thirteen years without Darren, I look at Olive and I remember that part of my life.  So while it is Olive's life that is ending, a strong reminder of a life I cherished will become more difficult to recall without her rather cantankerous mewing.
But I don't believe that's the end of the story.
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord." Psalm 121
I read that when this psalm was written, pagans looked to the hills for their idols to rescue them from their troubles.  God's people knew their rescue didn't come from the hills but from the Lord.
Geographically, the landscape where I live is nearly hill-free.  To be fair, my home rests on the cusp of where some hills begin to roll.  If my hope rested in the excitement of the hills, I'd be in trouble.
For Olive, for Darren, for me, and maybe even for you, our hope isn't in the hills, the excitement, the bank account, the political power, the talent, the fancy car, or connections to elite clubs or people.
Our help is in the Lord.
And as I say goodbye to Olive, and remember the too few years I had with my husband, I remember that there's more.  I remember that it's better.  That is faith, and hope, and love.  Love, as elusive and fleeting as it may be, endures forever.