Monday, November 24, 2008

People are like Umbrellas :)

It is a rainy, drizzly day. Thankfully I had checked the weather forecast this morning and grabbed an umbrella on my way out the door. Not 15 minutes later the rain started and has not stopped as of yet.

My umbrella is a cute umbrella. It is powder blue and has little cats and dogs all over it. (It's raining cats and dogs! ha..ha..) My grandma got it free from the Humane Society and gave it to me. However, like most free things, it is lacking in quality. The fabric on at least two of the ends of the umbrella had ripped before this morning As I was walking home for lunch the wind started gusting and my umbrella became almost more of a hassle than a shelter as it flipped inside out and I was gripping it tightly lest it fly away. It now has a few other ends ripped and looks like a mishapped pity of an umbrella.

I couldn't help but notice some of the umbrellas around me passing as I went to and from class. Some were brightly colored. Some were massive. Some were obviously older. Some were shiny and new. Some were designer. Some were probably from a thrift store. Some even were several layers of material. As I crossed the road toward my apartment a friend walked up and I couldn't help but feel a little chagrined over the state of my sad umbrella next to his massive, very refined, high-quality umbrella. My broken powder blue cats and dogs looked very silly.

People are like umbrellas. We're all shapes and sizes. We come from all different places. Like my poor umbrella, some of us need some mending of tears in our lives. Some of us may even need new parts. Some of us are getting our heads wet in rains of trial. Some of us are sheltered from the rain and toasty warm. Some of us may even be fighting to hang on as the storms are threatening to turn us inside out. Some of us may think we're just plain and not very exciting. Some of us are sporting shiny designs but perhaps hiding the emptiness inside. Some are guarding a happy heart that is splashing with joy through the puddles (that's who I want to be :) )

Umbrellas are always held. They do no good if they are not opened and held up. So are we held in Christ's hands. He has control over our lives. We may fancy we're holding on to our own lives but one fierce storm will whip the control from our weak hands. We would do better to let go of our umbrellas, our lives, and walk next to Christ and He can hold our lives for us. :)

There are dozens of analogies between us and umbrellas but I must hasten to mention that there is at least one important detail which does not make us entirely like umbrellas. When I left for work today I left my poor powder blue cats and dogs at home and grabbed my roommate's more robust umbrella for the walk to work. Christ never trades us in. We are not disposable in His sight. He will mend us. He will perfect us. He will never let us go.

The Bible doesn't say anything about umbrellas, but it has something to say about clay...

"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel." - Jeremiah 18:6

"Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'?"- Isaiah 45:9

Don't hang on, let go and let God form you as He wills. Let yourself be clay (or an umbrella) in His hands. :)


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Struggle to grow

Whenever I write a blog I want to have something to say. I want to have had an experience or a thought that I have developed and attempt to write eloquently to get my concept across. Therefore my posts are rarely spontaneous and while, yes they are me; they are a refined me. The me that I want everyone to see and know. The me that spends time planning things and consciously thinks about how she is viewing life.

Then there is another me. The me-in-the moment that often is not seen. The me that reacts to things. The me that hangs up the phone with a heavy heart when her mother tells her that her grandmother is in the hospital. The me whose heart sinks with the realization of the stress of home which she is not part of.

My grandmother is in the hospital. But there is more to the story. My mother was in the hospital last week and had surgery that was more complicated than expected. She had 13 staples removed yesterday. My grandmother thought she had the flu but when she went to the doctor it was found that she has some sort of pervasive infection and is being hospitalized. This is distressing, yes. Who wants their family member in the hospital? But the implications of my grandmother being in the hospital are what bother me. My grandfather is very dependent. He has dementia resulting in short-term memory loss. He's isn't out of control or anything. He is forgetful. This means that my grandmother monitors his diet, tests his blood routinely (diabetes), gives him his various pills and in general keeps an eye out for him. He will probably forget that she is in the hospital and wonder where she is. My mother will have to look after him. My mother who is recovering from surgery and needs to be taken care of herself. I don't know if this means she will sleep at their house or what they will do. My mother is wonderful, however, when my mother gets stressed she becomes difficult to live with and often unreasonable. Ugh. I perfectly's just hard. And then my grandmother. My sweet grandmother. Oh, how I love her. I hate seeing her becoming more dependent herself. How frustrated I know she must be. Then there is my father. Calm and collected Dad whom I have never seen angry or rude in my life. He will be the chauffeur and pitch in where he can. He is the mediator. The reasonable, reliable one who is often taken for granted and unappreciated. Oh Dad. I appreciate you.

But in this whole situation there is always sunshine to be seen. There are always lessons to be learned. There are always opportunities. I believe that with every part of my being.Satan wants us to get so focused on the negative that we can't see the sun rays breaking through. Trials are certainly a reminder that this world is not our home. There are no hospitals in the New Jerusalem.

Without struggle there is no growth. If the plant never struggled it would stay in its happy little seed in the dark earth. Without struggle the leaves can't spread, the color can't deepen and the roots are not fed. To receive nutrients you have to endure the rain. And it's not coincidence that plants turn their faces to the sun.

So I don't know how this will all turn out. I feel bad not being at home. I want to be there to help, to make it all go smoother. It's difficult to realize my life path is going in a different direction. Meaning my focus is not pointed toward home anymore. My life focus is outward to wherever my own home will become. That's growth too I suppose.

So my heart is heavy for home. My concern and thoughts are focused there. I anticipate a very difficult time the next few days. And I wish I could be more of a help. I want to help bear the burden. But in the mean time I will pray, call my grandma and encourage my parents.

And turn my face toward the Son.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"If that's not the work of the Holy Spirit, I'll eat my hat!"

~ Dr. Jack Blanco