Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cloudy Day

I'm not usually one to dwell on challenges and depressions, especially ones that are spiritual or personal. I don't like to air dirty laundry. Writing that sentence on this spring day in South Texas does make me desperately miss my clothesline in Michigan and the fragrance of freshly laundered and country-air-dried sheets. Ahh.

Oh, back to what I was talking about. Dirty laundry. Physical evidence of the day's/week's/month's toil. Oh, look, she had pasta again, I can see the marinara spot on her white shirt. Hasn't she had enough pasta? I mean, does she know how many carbs are in a plate of penne? This is all figurative of course. (And I did make a YUMMY whole wheat baked penne this week, with chicken, zucchini, red pepper, onions and garlic, but that's clearly an aside.) Oh, she's been grumpy with her kids? Feels distant from her husband? Lacking in her prayer life? Trouble sticking to her Lent fast? The chaplain's wife?! Dirty laundry indeed.

I don't like to only write about lollipop and cotton-candy kind of days. It may seem that way, because, when the days are hard and my heart is heavier than usual, I tend to slip away into an introspective grey cloud and try to figure out how to get that spot of marinara out by myself.

I don't often call friends when I'm having a rough day. I don't usually want to talk about it. I withdraw. I hope it doesn't come off as snobbery and snootery. I just want to wait until the sun comes back out and I'm feeling better, and then maybe I'll talk about it in past tense. "Oh, man, last week was rough. But I'm doing great now!" It's a character flaw, perhaps, that I close up and slip away into my own cloudy corner during the stormy times. Oh, if you've got a problem or need something, I'm there, baby. I'm really good at avoiding the conversation about me.

And I don't know how to change that. There's the dirty laundry for today.

I'm sure there'll be more tomorrow, but maybe I'll secretly tuck it into the hamper.

So today I'm waiting for the wind to blow away these clouds. God has lessons for me in the series of disappointments and mini-rejections that have piled up and made a nuisance of themselves.

I'm reminded of God's constant love and acceptance and pursuit of me. I'm so glad He knows I need those things from Him. And He never fails to deliver. He doesn't wait for me to come through the cloud, though; He won't let me slip into aloneness for even one minute.

Today, we celebrate Palm Sunday, the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the "city of peace." In Sunday School, the kids and I read aloud Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem from each of the Gospel accounts. Luke's account in chapter 19 included a few details left out of the other three. When the people began shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" the grumpy ol' Pharisees commanded Jesus to rebuke them. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." He is the true King, and he WILL be praised. I remember one song from church camp...I think I learned it as a counselor, not a camper:

"Ain't no rock
Gonna sing in my place.
As long I'm alive
I'll glorify
His holy name. "

That song is running on repeat through my head now.

Another detail that Luke captures for us:

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of the God's coming to you."

I don't know about you, but I want to know now what will bring me peace. I don't want to know later, after the time for finding peace has already passed, ya know? This prophecy from Jesus was fulfilled in A.D 70 when Rome besieged Jerusalem, using the layout of the land against it, but I also know that for us TODAY is the day of Salvation.

This isn't the first time Jesus was heart-broken over the lost city of Jerusalem. A few chapters earlier in 13:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"

So tender and beautiful is Jesus love for this people who would shortly after torture and kill him and refuse to accept His gift of salvation.

So tender and beautiful now is his love for you and for me.

That alone is enough to make these peevish clouds small and manageable.

Hosanna in the highest!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


"Beauty is visual but also exists in sounds, scents, tastes and touch." (Etched on a wooden sign at the South Texas Botanical Gardens.)

We journeyed in search of beauty,

vibrant color,

signs of spring

and new life.

We found it, God's gentle breath of life in the wonder of His creation

as we gazed and marveled at colors found only in flowers and dreams

and touched baby soft petals

and inhaled crisp air dampened by rain and made rich by earthy spring.

If this is only a shadow of the beauty found in Heaven, what glorious treasures await us there!