I crash out wordless, exhausted and toasty warm and convince myself that it’s OK to post a picture of my roaring fire and that will be enough for a blog for today…
And while it is OK to have a wordless day. I start to think…and as I sit, my mind weaves around stories, quotes and people and I find a loose thread I like – and here I am.
…I remembered an interview with Rick Warren who described life as a series of problems. Either you are in one now or you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into one.
That God is more interested in our character than our comfort…Yay.
And rather than hills and valleys, back and forth, he describes life as two rails on a rail-track and at all times you have something good and bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
Then Henri Nouwen* writes that life is a time “in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment.” We all have our own experiences of those moments. Those joy moments that we will know will pass. I think of my babes hugging and squeezing and fitting me perfect and then in the blink it’s a different fit, I spend lovely time with far away friends on Skype and then say goodbye once more, I smile over the pictures of loved ones now gone and hold memories over those I can’t reach out to anymore.
Nouwen suggests that these experiences of sadness and joy create longing in us, “making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us.” and “We were made for something more, something beyond today, and loneliness whispers to us of Jesus and an ultimate union in heaven.”
Until then, we do life together – the reason we were created.
*from Nouwen, Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life
Street Art in Tel Aviv. National Geographic.
My day began with this story:
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, and where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.
‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’ The origin of this letter is unknown.
See you tomorrow,
Love, Michelle xoxo