Friday, October 23, 2015


I've been in a strange season for the past year. Longer than that, actually—but the last 11 months or so have been the strangest thus far. I'm not alone in this season; others, mostly family members, are in it too. We're waiting for the other shoe to drop. Have you experienced a season like this? Where you cannot escape the (to coin a double entendre) "terminal awareness"? Where your thoughts constantly hover between the facts that our lives are finite, and that you can never, not for a moment, escape that reality?

I truly hope that it's not the new normal for me to wake each night, while the little world around me sleeps, and lie in bed pondering all the terrible potential scenarios of my own life and the people closest to me. I'm hoping that the night frets are just part of this *#!&?$ season. I suspect they are going to stick around for a long time, but I'd happily be wrong about that suspicion.

Either way, I haven't been up and out of bed really early for quite some time. This morning, though, I rose while darkness was still settled over our home. I poured a cup of coffee, began to do dishes, and noticed the overflowing recyclables container on the floor by the garbage. I'll take that out, I thought.

When I unchained the kitchen door and stepped out on the side porch, my eyes were instantly drawn upward, to the deep midnight-blue sky hanging above. I carefully, quietly deposited the items in our recycling container, then simply stood staring into the heavens. The night had been clear; stars stared back at me, some bright, some dim and twinkly, representing galaxies that were light years away.

Words to a church worship song popped into my head: "You made the stars in the sky, and you know them by name." I studied those hand-placed balls of fire and considered the power behind such arrangements. I thought again of my mortal nature here on Earth, of illness, of worry, of broken hearts and homes. It was still so dark outside.

And then, over the trees at the tip of the hilltop, a flash, a quick arc of light, there and gone in a fraction of a second. A shooting star. Not a star at all, but a piece of something, meteor, chunk of planet, whatever—being burned up. Dying. Ending.


And I thought to myself, that is the message for me today: that God is in this—even this.

I have to be reminded that God is in all things, not just the lollipops and unicorns of life. Not just the sunny days, not just the happy healthy moments. In all things, He is God. (I especially need this reminder in mid-winter. Bleeeech.)

I always get annoyed at people who say, "If we didn't have winter we wouldn't appreciate summer." I suspect, however, that there is some truth to that sentiment. My son had to read Tuck Everlasting, so I read along with him, about a family that accidentally drinks water from an eternal fountain. They can't die. And it's a burden to them, to be everlasting in this messed-up world with their human emotions and needs and pains. The book, while not my favorite, made me consider how pointless would be a life without end in this setting.

That's really all I have to say right about that. Oh, and this, which happened to turn up in my Daily Bread for today:

The Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:13