Life Finds a Way –
Outside of our bathroom window, there is a huge limb that was torn down by a massive thunderstorm last year. I was able to get most of its almost twenty-five-foot length sawed off and hauled away but the chainsaw I used stopped working. It was my intent to get to the last, biggest, ten-foot portion of it but never did. Yesterday, while mowing the grass, I noticed there was a plant growing out of the long-dead limb. What was lifeless and useless had become home to new life.
Today is a friend’s birthday. It is a bittersweet day because it is the first one she’s had in over forty years that she cannot share with her partner who passed away. It has been a hard day for her. She has friends who are looking after her, a family that’s doing their best to care but it’s not the same. There’s not an hour that goes by she doesn’t think about him. Not a day where her heart doesn’t ache from the hole death has left in her life. However, in the midst of loss, new growth has begun. It’s slow and most days unrecognizable but it’s there; a new courage and a new strength. The new life doesn’t replace the loss. It grows partly because of and in spite of it.
In the midst of heartbreak that is this world, life finds a way.
Fill My Cup –
Sunday morning, heading into the sanctuary for worship, I grabbed a styrofoam cup from the coffee stand and went to a water fountain to fill it up. As I filled it with water, I was also saying; “hello” to a few people and thinking about several other things. After a while, I looked down at the cup and noticed it was only half filled. So, I kept the faucet going, felt the eyes of the person behind me waiting for me to finish, checked again and it was only half filled. I then let go of the lever to the fountain, picked up the styrofoam cup, looked at the bottom and noticed it had a big hole. The water was leaking out almost as fast as it was being put in. I emptied out the bit which was remaining and threw the cup away. I then walked down the hall to where the kitchen was located, the door was open, so I went in and grabbed a plastic cup, made my way back to the water fountain and filled up the cup with ease. I went into the sanctuary, found where my wife was sitting and stood beside her.
As we sang a chorus I wasn’t familiar with I reflected on the oft heard statement; “I hope the singing and the sermon is good this morning! My heart needs to be filled up today. I’m almost empty.” I chuckled as I thought about the first cup with the big hole. It wasn’t the fountain’s fault the cup wasn’t being filled. Maybe, instead of looking to church, concerts, special services, “good ol’ preaching,” or whatever the newest, most popular sermon series happens to be, we should check our heart for holes. This could be why we’re empty every Sunday. Too many times we look outside before inside to see what the problem may be.
The Hole –
I used to hear tales of older folks who couldn’t eat certain foods too close before bed time or they’d have strange dreams and restless nights. I figured I hadn’t read that age yet until the last few times we’ve eaten pizza later than usual. Last night was one of those occasions. I ate one slice of supreme pizza with spicy sausage around 8pm and a couple of hours later crawled into bed.
I drifted off to sleep and it wasn’t long before one of the strangest dreams I’ve ever had began. It involved Sherman Hemsley, yes that; Sherman Hemsley, Mr. George Jefferson himself who starred in the titular role on the T.V show, “The Jefferesons.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Hemsley) I found myself sitting on the front row, in a large church with wooden pews along with a packed house as Mr. Hemsley was getting married to a woman of Japanese descent. The dream was so crazy I only remember snippets. There was singing, preaching, sushi and me thinking; “What am I doing here?” The service, and the dream, seemed to go on forever and then someone spoke to me; “You can focus on who put you in the hole or who pulled you out.” and then I woke up.
I told Beth the dream over breakfast at Cracker Barrel this morning. I like to try to decipher where my dreams come from, what events and experiences contributed to the images and speech found in them, especially the odder ones but for the life of me I don’t know where George Jefferson, Sushi and a wedding come from.
However, the words of wisdom; “You can focus on who put you in the hole or who pulled you out.” are powerful and certainly worth reflecting on.
Tonight, something bland for dinner and maybe an Nexium.