Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sheep C Finds a Silver Lining

Last July, being newly-single yet again for about six weeks, I came home one afternoon to find that a storm had knocked out the power. I live way out in the country, and we have power outages far more often than do my city-slicker friends. It’s a rather serious thing because not only do I miss out on lights, I have no water with no power to the well pump.

I sat alone on my back porch because it was the place with the most light and cooler than my now-non-air-conditioned house. I saw more rain clouds over the trees, and the wind began to stir. Clearly more rain was on the way and I groaned, thinking how this might delay the restoration of the power and how dreary the rain would make me feel—I was already depressed, coming home to a dark, empty house.

And, sure enough, the rain began. That’s when a totally amazing, totally unexpected thing happened: The temperature began to drop; everything began to smell cleaner, lighter; there was a cheery radiance given by the end-of-day light through the shower as the rain fell. I, myself, began to feel light and refreshed. I actually began giving thanks for the cooling rain that I had initially cursed.
The following thought came to me: “Fear and anticipation often cause us to avoid the very instruments of life and freedom.”I had dreaded the rain. I had feared and anticipated that it would keep the lights off (it didn’t--they soon returned); I had anticipated and feared that it would depress me even more. It didn’t; it made me feel better, more refreshed as I never could have predicted. My fears were not well-founded. In the end, I was glad for the rain I had dreaded.

I think this realization can be applied to my broader life. Understand that I am not advocating divorce; I would have done a lot (did a lot!) to save my marriage, but since my husband has left, a whole new world is beginning to open up to me. I have the freedom to make some choices that would have just been out had he been here. It hasn’t been all bad, as I had feared and anticipated.

So, what’s a blind sheep to do? Do we resist and avoid things which loom in our future and look like trouble? I think so. I can’t advocate giving up one’s brain and common sense here. We have to live life according to some of the rules of cause and effect that experience has taught us. Hopefully, we seek guidance from above in doing so.

And, yet, there is another, almost other-dimensional (spiritual?) aspect of this thought. We just trot through life, blind sheep that we are, living according to those rules of common sense. But, I think the backdrop to it all should be the understanding that we are, indeed, blind. We are simply not wise enough to have God’s perspective on our lives. So, when we play by those life rules and it seems that life does not, we have to learn to rest in the knowledge that God has our refreshing and renewal on His mind. And He knows how to get us there, whether we recognize the means or not. I think this is called "faith."

No, I have not perfected the art of living with constant awareness of this backdrop, but I do have these flashes of insight that get me by. And when it seems that I just can’t parse out the silver lining to the rain cloud, I try to remember that there is yet more in the background, always, and it’s summed up with God saying this:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11 (NIV)

It may be that I am trying to avoid the very thing that will set me free or bring me life. I just have to trust Him, for certainly I can’t always see!

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