“Waiting on a hurricane is like being stalked by a homicidal turtle!” I read this statement the other day and thought it was humorous and true. My wife and I have friends up and down the east coast and they are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best with Hurricane Florence looming as she’s still deciding when and where to make landfall. The slow-moving storm has people on edge. There’s something to be said for a challenge or difficulty that comes out of nowhere to cause chaos in life and then goes as fast as it came. It’s hard but at least one doesn’t have the agony of waiting.
I was talking with a friend last night about depression and anxiety and the way they steal the joy out of life. It’s a dark storm that hovers filling you with dread as you prepare for the full brunt of the fury. You wait, you pray, you look for signs of the storm passing but it stays in one place and never gives you a true moment’s rest. Your strength is sapped by the anxiety of the approaching darkness and when the storm finally hits its wave and winds batter and beat you into submission. Rest is elusive when something is stalking you, wearing you out with threats and anticipation, and finally, when it strikes, you’re too weak to fight back.
Be kind to each other. You never know the storms that are brewing in each of us.
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Chirp and Chatter –
Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on the front steps to our shed waiting for Beth to come home from work. Me and the dog enjoying the day when a bird overhead began to chirp loudly! It wasn’t the usual chirp and it was incessant. I looked to the limbs of our big Oak tree trying to find it. I couldn’t. The chirping didn’t stop but I couldn’t find it among the leaves. Finally, it stopped and only when it flew away could I see that it was a large woodpecker.
After watching this beautiful bird fly away I reflected on the constant chirping and not knowing where it was coming from. Some thought are like that in our minds. They chirp and chatter and we wonder, why and for what reason, they are filling our minds with noise. Perhaps its regret at an action, a question about why something is happening, puzzlement for a big decision which needs to be made, a betrayal, a hurtful word given or received, a reliving of past events, or worry about the future. Whatever the thoughts, the chirps, and the chatter can keep peace of mind and spirit elusive and unattainable.
Wisdom reminds us that thoughts are going to come and go but it is up to us not grab them and ruminate. A wise master once said; “I cannot stop the thoughts from coming to my door but I do not have to serve them tea.”
Out of Reach –
A couple of weeks ago a strong thunderstorm dislodged a big limb from the huge Oak tree just outside of our front door. It was caught by other limbs about 15 feet from the ground. I noticed it last week and decided to take it down before it crashed onto the house, a vehicle or perhaps Beth or myself.
My idea was to pull the truck under the limb, climb on top of the cab, and try to grab it with something. Beth was not a fan of this plan. I got the truck in place, crawled on the truck as high as I could go and tried with a broom and a 2×4 to shake it loose. It didn’t work and Beth kept saying, rather loudly; “I don’t like this, you’re going to fall!” Managing to move it a few feet I was stretching as far as I could but the limb was frustratingly still out of reach. “I’ve got an idea!” I told Beth. “What if I jumped off the cab, grabbed the limb and pulled it down as I landed?” That was it. Beth, in rather stern language, made me get down and find another way. I retrieved a rope from my truck, tied a piece of wood to the end, and threw it over the limb and pulled it down. The limb was much longer than I realized and had many offshoots which made it difficult to finally get it free. After finishing I confessed to Beth that she was right, I was wrong, standing on the truck cab, trying to grab it was not a good idea and I probably would’ve hurt myself if I kept trying it this particular way.
Wisdom teaches us that certain things are out of reach for us. This doesn’t mean they’re always going to be unavailable, it simply means, for now, they aren’t ours to claim. However, too often we insist on grasping the elusive object immediately and troubles and pain follow. Knowing when and when not to go after something is as important as possessing it.
Grow Again –
A few weeks ago when I mowed our lawn it seemed mostly running the blades over dirt. However, the last week and a half has brought several days of much-needed rain and the grass is growing again. In less than a week since the last mow the yard needs cutting again! I am certainly not complaining. I would rather mow more often than look at brown grass and stunted plants. I don’t know if the rain will continue to fall but I am enjoying every drop that settles on the parched land.
It’s interesting how new patterns in life can emerge. For most of the summer the rain would fall around us, just a few miles away but not often at our place. Now we are enjoying being on the receiving end.
The rain is a wonderful reminder that life seems unfair when others are being “blessed” while we are merely witnesses. Though we try to be thankful for others’ gifts and favors we can’t help but wonder; “Why not us?” The answer is often elusive but patience and acceptance are the lessons learned and for these we should be thankful.
Last week was the first time I had heard the words; “Pokemon” and “Go” together. A couple of folks in the office were talking about it and I was listening trying to figure out what they were saying, describing and deriving so much joy and interest. Like a newbie, I asked several questions but still didn’t understand the concept. Little did I know this conversation would be the beginning of an information immersion into this app game for a cellphone I would receive over the last several days. I’ve heard about it on the news, podcasts, social media and more. I’ve seen pictures of people, phone up to their faces, meandering around, running to areas where “creatures?” can be found and trying to “catch” them.
Reflecting on this latest phenomenon I am reminded how each of us have goals we pursue. We seek the elusive, the valuable, the treasured, the thing that will bring contentment and meaning into our lives. However, unless we are pursuing the truth each goal we grasp only leaves us unfulfilled and a new goal appears with further promises of purpose and peace. If we’re not careful we can spend our lives chasing, finding and capturing that which will not satisfy.
“Truth is easy to understand once it is discovered; the point is to discover it.”