(photo above courtesy of my collections of postcards from about 15 years ago.)
Can a building really mean so much? The heart of a city is a big shoe to fill. The feelings are certainly there when you walk through St. Sebald which is the oldest parish church in Nuremberg, Germany.
Come along with me on a nature walk of 2500 acres of the world’s largest public, self-guided woodland garden:
While sipping my morning java and taking my Ibuprofen, misty thoughts run through my head as collectively I weigh the day’s needs. Summer times typically bring joy and fun. This summer has been a fruit bowl of mixed emotions. In all my lessons of life who would have thought writing would bring that moment of solace. It is like time stands still as composing my words come to life. Yes. Words have a life all their own.
While studying from scripture as a young teenager at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, I am reminded of how we were taught the Words of God were God Himself coming to life for us. It is a metaphor I embrace. Lately sitting in my backyard pondering what it is this life is all about, the birds remind me of how gentle life can be as the little finches eat from my feeders. At times you will see a nasty crow try to come in and cause a raucous. He is soon gone as I shoo him away. Blue Jays come out next usually in pairs. They spend a lot of time enjoying my backyard typically as many as four pairs. It is great to see them playing. Yet they are loud when they chirp.
Birds of the air can teach us so much. The biggest lesson is how birds will learn to adapt to any given environment to survive. It is a lesson to take to heart. Developing in my mindset the ability to adapt to changes in my life come rushing into my consciousness as I sit in my backyard gazing at these amazing birds.
A few nights ago I attended a special event where Ann Graham Lotz spoke to a large audience. Anne is the daughter of the legendary evangelist Billy Graham. She is considered for her generation one of the top 5 evangelists according to the New York Times. Funny thing is that at this event she said she is not an evangelist. Reverend Billy Graham called her the best preacher in the family. I thought that was pretty amazing coming from him.
Anne’s message was clear and masterful. She believes we are living in the end times and prefaced this with language I had heard many times before about the changing circumstances of humanity. She gave example after example of environmental and political reasons. It was interesting and her thoughts on life in our current culture seemed spot on to me.
As a fellow Christian I take heart in the simplicity of the evening. There was a lone man (http://www.fernandoortega.com/) at the piano singing songs that pierced your heart. With each word of one song I paused to allow the fullness of its meaning. The song would draw you in with its deep calling. It would remind me of being at a dear friend’s house that you may have not seen for many years, yet you can resume that friendship right where you left off.
It is in living our lives vulnerable, we rediscover ourselves. I think that is why I love music so much. A song has a way of replenishing me. I can let my guard down. So as I seized the moment in a song, I thought of where my life has come from one restoration to another. It is not a one stop healing track. It is a continuum. If we are to capture the wonder of life, it is a rediscovery process. It is also about allowing people an opening into our lives from not merely knowing someone from the inside out, but the outside in.
After coming home from this special night, I decided to find out more about Anne. I noted in one article on the internet that her husband had been very ill a month ago with a deadly MRSA infection. She thought they might lose him. As I read this, it took me back to my year of horror with the same infection in my skull. The difference is I became extremely angry and resentful to God about this and honestly still have not completely overcome my negative emotions with my experience. Yet here was Anne able to come cross-country after watching her partner fight for his life. Let me just say that her circumstances restored me a little that night.
So today I am a little bit closer to being the best I can be. I await again for another restoration and can not wait for God to answer in an unexpected way. By the way–bloggers thanks for reading as this post was very religious in nature. I am many things, but the most important part of who I am is an ordinary girl telling her story in extraordinary fashion. That is why I started this blog after all.
When I think of Luke’s anchor, I am reminded of my own. It is invisible. However, I have not used it as consistently as Luke uses his. It is prayer in my life. My prayer life consists of a simple rhythm of words I put together to help me deal with life’s challenges. Usually I pray utilizing The Lord’s Prayer centered around doing right,forgiveness, safety, and last but not least allowing me to be used by God to help others in their time of need.
In all honesty, prayer has not come easy to me but I know it leads me to focus on God more. This changes perspectives and attitudes. Prayer also reminds me of our desperate need for forgiveness. Just as we can die from lack of food, we can die from lack of forgiveness. To starve from lack of food is one thing, but to starve from a lack of forgiveness brings it to a whole new level.
Prayer is a mystery to me. It will stay that way I am sure, but it is a good mystery. I know God is watching over me and that is soothing. For Luke, an inanimate object calms and soothes him. For me, it is the invisible. I thank God that Luke is comforted with the alligator. It would be horrible if nothing comforted him. I am also reminded that as I do pray God does have a sense of humor. Who would have ever thought a big alligator from Toys R Us could have such a powerful hold on my son? That is the same powerful hold I seek with God.
Other posts with this theme are:
In one of the most well-known stories of the Bible in the book of Job, we learn of a man who loved God. Despite all this love he has for God, God allows Job to lose absolutely everything. I can not even imagine what he must have felt like. I have lost many things, but not everything like him. Job is left miserable with the loss of his children, money, and his health. Despite it all, Job wonders why me but he never curses God. Finally God responds to Job through nature itself.
If you have time to read Job 38, it is here that God engages Job to look to the night sky and the clouds of a summer’s day. He than takes him on a wonderful adventure of nature itself and its animals. It is in God’s safari that Job is refreshed in his belief. Can you imagine being lifted up and allowed to see all things created through the wonder of God’s eyes? There is so much more to God than only nature, but it was the way HE chose to show Himself to Job.
Thanks to all of you that write and bring to life a bit of yourself through your stories and photography. I do believe their is the divine in all of this we call life. God chose the Bible to tell us so much. It is through pain and hardship, nature beckons us back to Him. By the way everything was restored to Job. I suppose God could have put on a professor’s cap to teach Job, but He chose to teach through his own Handiwork. I like those kind of lessons myself. I don’t have to take notes.