The world and our country is in disarray. People are angry, some are ecstatic, some simply scared. I myself, not one for political battles or rhetoric, genuinely thought if Nate and I could find a plan to leave this country for a couple years…to find shelter or safety elsewhere, and have access to amazing healthcare, I was ready to start packing. Maybe we could move to a place a bit a calmer, even if we built a house against the shore in Ireland and the waves pounded against us daily or we found ourselves somewhere in the cold tundra of let’s say…Canada, I think it would still be a little less crazy, and definitely quieter. I would hope wherever we’d land that the news wouldn’t be reporting about shootings because people are up in arms about who our new leader will be and where our beloved cops who help keep us safe, but whose reputation is muddled by events I hate to even utter, are having to use tear gas to break up the mobs of nasty naysayers that are shouting and slaying words of hate that deep down stem from fear. Fear that this country they know and love will change and the liberties they cling to will disappear.
And in the midst of it all I identify with their fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear for the future, or a question of is there even is a future. This weekend at church I was reminded of so many things. One, that God is not afraid of the future yet there are probably times now and way back then when He looked over Israel or now over us, and grieved and mourned over what had transpired. Our pastor, reminded us, that our mission now, after this election, is to not lose Hope- To bare hope, to love well, and to pray that God will bridge the gap and divides that separate us.
Yesterday, Nate and I took a drive. We’ve been trying (and that means for two weeks since for two Sundays I haven’t seen a hospital bed) to go on Sunday drives that will bring us beauty and that will feed our souls. The two of us like an adventure but it’s probably a lot more slow paced than anyone else would enjoy- but my sweet husband has slowed down for me. I used to try and take him to hike mountains I knew of in my home town and around the Beautiful Bay Area-but now we take drives and stop for pictures of God’s artistry. Sometimes we will take a “hike” (meander down some paths and pant my way up some tiny hills) if I can manage, and other times I swallow my pride and we get out my wheelchair from the back of the car and he pushes me further toward beauty and inspiration.
I had a hard time at one point during our adventure yesterday. I fell into a spell of horrible pain. I tried to share a snack with Nate and about 5-10 minutes after only having a few bites my body revolted. It began to clench and tear and stab and quietly I took some medicine. I tried to remain in my element but nothing would budge so 30 miles later I took some more-knowing my body was not metabolizing anything. I cried. Tears of anger because this I not what I imagined for us-not during that drive or in this life. I told Nate I had to lay back----that the scenery would only be his to see for awhile and just as I said that, the lighthouse appeared. The Beacon of Hope.
In Davenport, a few towns back we stopped at this little airstream with a garden and a tiny shop called, The Slow Coast. Inside the magical airstream they sold tiles by a local artist. I think there were five I wanted but we chose one with the lighthouse…..she called it “our” lighthouse. We wrapped it in tissue paper and not too long after getting back in the car I began my battle with pain. Soon it began to overwhelm me. With tears and frustration I reached for more meds and then the lighthouse appeared. We pulled in as close as we could and Nate told me to just rest, to sit a minute and let my body see if I could get some relief. He gave me permission to stop. To not rush. I sat and stared in amazement at this lighthouse, at the most beautiful wood (I have a thing with wood-if you know me) that was part of a boat that had shipwrecked right among the rocks beneath us. And then I felt well enough to get closer to the water, to take pictures so I could share the beauty I saw through the lens of my life. So, I seceded from my strong will and let Nate get out my wheelchair. I sat wrapped in blankets and he pushed me towards the lighthouse and the sea. I could see in such beauty the clouds and the waves and again I felt hope.
Back at church the night before we talked about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They lived an alternate story than the others, defying King Nebuchadnezzar and refusing to bow down to what he wanted them to worship. They believed that God would deliver them from the hottest of fiery flames that the King was going to throw them in. They proclaimed that their Lord, who happens to be my God, would show up. And in Daniel 3:18 they say, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” And do you know why they said that? Because they believed that their God was good.
If you know the story, you know it goes on that they are thrown in the fire and sure enough a fourth figure appears and it is the Lord delivering them from the flames and saving them. But, I learned this weekend that even in the flames of life, when we are hurting and suffering and debilitated by pain and life, even then, if not all is fixed or answered and your story doesn’t involve coming through the fire unscathed-He is still there and He is still good.
On our drive, Nate spoke words to me that no person wants to hear. But a lot of my fear right now involves leaving people I love or trying to make sure I get things done or wondering if the ones I hold close will be okay. I fear never being out of pain, of living life with everyday harder than the last. My physical strength gone. He said, “I don’t know how much time we have. I hope it is many years, but even now, if we are on your road to death I never want you to be overcome by fear. I will make it through. It will be hard and I will be crushed but I will be okay. So do not die in fear. Die with your hope shining, die finding joy in the little things, by delighting in all of the nature and little things that you love that no one else notices or pays attention to. Die shining so that others see the light.”
So, I guess not matter what road you are on-Know that there is a lighthouse. There is a tower of hope and strength and even as you suffer from the burns of this broken world-He is still there. He has showed up, He is still good. I am choosing to bring flowers instead of flames, with His light, wherever I am, and whenever I can.
This song touched me wholly this weekend. It hit harder than home. Please watch and listen- and I hope it gives you the strength to rise up against whatever it is that is hurting you or that you are scared of. Even after this election, where we are so divided-We will rise up.