The other day I was driving one of my kids to practice and the weather had turned super stormy, super quickly. Living in the south, you learn to adapt to swift changes in the weather due to raging thunderstorms in warm weather. Many of these storms are accompanied by a tornado, as was the case the other night while I was driving. I left my house and began driving into clouds, into rain and into dark skies. When I say dark skies, I mean that it was dark out at 7:30pm when it is normally still daylight. The rain came in sheets, downward, sideways, any which way–so much rain that my windshield wipers could not keep up even on the fastest speed. The only help in seeing the road was the hazard lights from the vehicle in front of me. Entering the on ramp to the highway, no blacktop could be seen. All that was normally visible of the road was covered in green… leaves, branches, debris. Once on the highway, hail began to pound on our car and in an effort to save our rooftop, I pulled under an overpass for a few minutes to wait for the calm. While driving, my daughter worried that I could not see. I assured her that I could see, and even when I couldn’t see ahead of me as I normally was able to, I could still navigate through the storm. Later, we found out that there actually were a couple of tornados that had touched ground in the area. Were they near where we were? Yes. Had we been in one of them? Probably not. But who knows for sure? This leads me to question, as we navigate the stormy weather in our lives, how do we respond? When life gives us heavy rains so thick that we cannot see, do we trust in God’s unfailing guidance and carry on in the midst of the storm? Yes, storms and troubled times in our lives are sometimes placed there to give us pause. In pausing, do we keep our faith that God is the master of our storm as well as our sun? It is hard to remember, but trials bring new opportunites to life and new opportunities for God to work in our lives. There are days of rain and thunder, and there are days of rainbows and sun. Too much of one thing is a curse not a blessing. Keep faith in the storm, even when you cannot see beyond the rain. The broken road, the rejection letter, the “no” seem like the dark cloud when actually, the sun is just waiting to push through and show you a yellow brick road, a golden ticket, a “yes” to the right thing. When all the world is seemingly under the gray cover, turn your umbrella upside down and use it as a boat. The places it will take you are far greater than you can see from the where you are standing.
My daughter’s 8th Grade Formal is coming up this weekend. It is a fancy and fun dance, but more than that, it is a celebration of the end of middle school and the ushering in of high school. After getting all dressed up, we normally go up to our club and take pictures of all the teens before they go off to the dance. This year there is an event going on at the clubhouse, so my daughter and I went out to find another spot for pictures. We were thinking about going to a pretty field near our house, but as we passed it, we realized that amid all of the spring rain and renewal it had become overgrown and was no longer accessible to us. Looking into that tangled mass of new, green leaves and weeds I was reminded that a path only remains one by being exercised, tended to and cared for. Our lives so closely mimic that of the path in the woods. There are moments of clarity in our minds where we set out to forge new paths, or reconnect with old paths, or struggle to stay on the same path! It could be a New Year’s Resolution, a commitment for Lent, an academic or athletic goal as you enter high school or trying to stay the path you are on when obstacles try to crowd the way. Some of our mental paths take form and settle into our daily walk of life. Some get overgrown with weeds and obstacles and end up being unusable. A single footstep doesn’t make a path and a single step in your mind’s path doesn’t make a life. Is there a pathway in your mind or heart that needs tending? Go there once and again and a clear walkway will begin to form. There is incredible beauty in beginning! The first step, the first breath, the anticipation of what’s to come… Eventually what once seemed impossible becomes possible and real. Is there a pathway in your mind that is already there? A well-worn comfortable place that you go back to again and again, like sinking into your favorite chair at the end of a busy day? Either way, repeating over and over our intentions with our thoughts and our actions will lead us down the path we are setting, as long as we tend to it, care for it and exercise it regularly. Grab your boots and hat and take a walk, one step at a time down that path!
On Saturday night, at midnight, it will be time to change the clocks for daylight savings time. Spring forward, move ahead, move along, keep on moving… We are moving forward so fast that we actually lose an hour before we even wake up. I decided that on Saturday, I am going to try and concentrate on that “extra” hour that I have on Saturday but I won’t have on Sunday. What is it you would do with your “extra” hour on Saturday?
take a nap
wake up early
read a book
knit a gift for someone you love
go for a bike ride
dance your heart out
play a game with your kids
sing in the shower
pray for your family
lounge over a cup of coffee
visit a neighbor
linger over a glass of wine
grab a yoga class
call a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while
write a note to someone that you have been thinking of
The possibilites are endless–What a gift an hour can be!
Happy Saturday and happy springing into spring!