My oldest daughter was married in July of 2016. My youngest was married last year in May. Cumulatively we spent two full years of great joy and celebration preparing for the separate events. There were parties, showers, shopping, and general anticipation of the days. The only euphoria that came close was the day each of my girls were born. I birthed them. My husband and I raised them, and we released them to their new lives with husbands we adore.
Life overflowed. Then the scale tipped, as it so often does. My elderly father left this world in August three months after the May wedding. My elation melted into grief. I wrote my most recent blog about the many blessings in my experience those two weeks in Virginia as Daddy took his permanent leave. It was an incredibly sad and confusing time, but not without gifts I’ll carry with me to my own departure date whenever God calls me home.
2017 was an insane year. One for the history books for sure with hurricanes, floods, fires, shootings, and storms both political and emotional in all American hearts. There seems to be no end to the turmoil and chaos even as I write. Our senses reverberate daily with the pervasive “information highway” of the internet shrieking from our desks, laps, wrists, and hands. At times we cry a collective TMI!
Yet in the midst of all the lunacy there were weddings, babies born, jobs won, victories, and multiple moments of sheer delight. We ride the see saw and manage, knowing that for every up there is an opposing down, followed by a ride back up again.
We grew a massive heirloom tomato plant in 2017. It was a glorious vine with thick verdant stalks that intertwined and meshed like the company of Pilobolus dance. The bright green leaves were hearty and full. Eventually tiny yellow flowers opened allowing the fruit to emerge. As the tomatoes pushed their way into the sunlight the leaves around them dried up and died a brittle death. They had to die to allow the fruit to receive all the nourishing rays.
We cannot have life without death. We do not have growth without pain. This contradiction can soften our attitude towards suffering as well. The lessons birthed from adversity are invaluable. Additionally, happiness intensifies with the stark contrast of peace after seasons of despair.
Living in harmony with this paradox is a simple reliance on our Creator who absorbs our trauma with the whisper of His name. God is good. He is also just and will judge every deed with a righteous perfection. With eyes rightly focused there is always something to look forward to and be grateful for.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28-30 NIV
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Psalm 30:11,12 NIV