Category Archives: friends

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Resist the temptation to run from struggles.

This evening, it is raining. There’s something about the rain. It makes you reflect. At least… it makes ME reflect. The sound of the slap of rain against my roof draws me out of whatever I am doing.  I HAVE to go to it… stand in the door and watch it. Open a window and feel the air that carries the coolness of the water on it. It washes me over. Refreshes me.

As cheesy as it sounds, its true… I shut my eyes against the night…. and FEEL it. I BREATHE it.

Water is life.

And all at once I am aware of the weight of the things pressing against me. For a moment, I feel the heaviness of the tasks of life. While simultaneously feeling the hope that surely lies in my future. (I am, as always, a complicated woman. I am… an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle, dipped in confusing sauce. I am, an acquired taste.)

I have had an eventful year since I have visited my blog.

I will not list all the changes me and my family have underwent. But it probably is not all that different from your own last year and the changes and challenges YOU have experienced: Tears surely have been shed. Limits were most definitely pushed. Joy was discovered. Peace was pursued.

And struggles were encountered.

And  the struggles beat against your body like a relentless ocean. This ocean is your life, your personality, your career, your weaknesses, you finances, your flaws, your uncertain future. And this ocean? Never gives up. Never lets up. Taking your breathe. Slapping your skin. Stinging at your eyes. Making you weary.

You brace yourself against the waves. Knee deep in the swirling foamy water…  you tighten your body’s muscles to hold your ground. You have the desire to fight. To stand. You must.

Then you realize… you are standing against an ocean. A massive body of water. The ocean will never run out of salty ammunition. It replenishes itself with unrelenting stamina. You realize… the ocean will never stop.

You know you lack the strength to stand there much longer. The sandy foundation moving under your feet. It is a battle that will only prove your human ability is finite.

Then all of a sudden, the salt water starts to taste a little bitter.

A familiar haze of weariness comes over you… as you get the fantastic idea…

to run.

Run away from the work. Run away from this body of water that taunts you with its perpetual existence. To run from the struggle it takes to stand in those waves.

Will peace come from retreat?

No.

It will not. As hard as the struggle is to stand, there is no peace in running. Retreating and giving up is a wasted decision. It is wasted, because no matter how weak you think you are. No matter how tired you feel yourself to be at the moment. No matter how much you doubt your abilities…. you will return to this ocean. You will return to these waves.

Because water… is life.

The ocean is ours.

Not ours to master. But ours just the same.

Here is our choice. To run away from our struggles. Or to turn and face them… walk into them… and float above them.

Did you know what you can float on these waves? You might have to wade out a little deeper. You might have to fight the flow a little harder for a distance. You might even swallow your fair share of salty water perhaps. BUT... but, my friends,  once you’ve walked the proper distance into this body of water…and you lay back into these same powerful waves?… arms out… in surrender? In trust of the laws of nature our marvelous creator has? You will float.

And here’s a little science for you: it is easier to float in an ocean. The salt in the water causes it to be heavier than fresh water. And your floating will come easier.

Those powerful waves that shook your foundation before?  That power is still there under you. The same things that would have smacked you in the face? The same things that would have stung your eyes and taken your breath away…. those things?… now carry you.

A dear friend is always telling me (quite often in fact, she is tireless in her advice) … the TRUE struggle in life? Is learning to rest and not fight so much.

Cuz, what does fighting the ocean of struggles REALLY benefit you? All you will get is stinging nostrils filled with salt water and a tired and weary you.

Rest today, my friends. Let’s both rest. Let the waves come. Wash past us.

And whatever you do…

Resist the temptation to run from those struggles.

Resist the temp…

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Mystical Love.

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Friday afternoon, with vans filled to bursting with sleeping bags, work gloves, preteen gals, moms, snacks a plenty and one grandpa we hit the road.

It was a four hour trip to our destination, The Hannah House in Athens, Ohio. The Hannah House was our home for 2 nights.

We hung out and talked with people who were under the heavy weight of poverty. Who struggled with addictions. Who were disabled. We shoveled gardens. Built compost bins. Prepared meals. Played bingo. Raked leaves. Gathered limbs. Sorted canned goods.

Of of the volunteers there said something I thought was very insightful.

“Loving God and loving others are somehow mystically intertwined. Where one cannot tell where loving God stops and loving others begins.”

Last weekend we served. We worshiped. We loved.

Take me out.

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Last night Chuck and I were offered tickets to go see the Cleveland Indians play the Minnesota Twins. It was a perfect night for a game. It was 85 and the breeze was warm. Not to mention it was dollar dog nite.

I waited in line with Joy for 40 minutes and we got:

6 hot dogs, with ketchup, stadium mustard and onions (although Chuckie didn’t get onions on his… baby.)

2 orders of nachos with salsa, cheese and jalapenos

2 super sodas

And later:

3 Dippin Dots (I got the banana split)

It was a great nite for a game.

The guys in the white uniforms won. I think.

Chris’s Arm Bar & Grill.

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Last nite our friend Chris Russell took to the cage with some gladiator from Youngstown. I am happy to report Chris won the fight within the first round by choke out!

Leah is relieved this is over.

And I can now pray for other things.

Like I don’t have enough stuff to worry about.

I was in my office cleaning my desk off as I habitually do on a semi monthly basis. (I lie. – I do it WAY more often. – I lie again.) Anyhoo, I digress… I was in here cleaning. And checked up on my blog feeds, only to find Lauren had disclosed an unsettling account on her blog.

After I called to be sure if she was ok. I emailed her my cell number. Just in case. And home number. Then I googled healthy eating tips for preggie people.

Now, I sit here wondering if there’s anything I can do to help out. Cooking? Cleaning? Errands? Visits?

I know, I know, she’s fine.

But sheesh! What kinda blog is that? You go from chocolate bubble gum to, O yeah… I know!… a 911 call.

I am too fragile a person for that kind of reading this early.