No art right now, maybe later today. It's a lovely day here in the mountains of South Carolina and I hope I can spend some time outside. As we approach Thanksgiving, I am struck by the weight of the stresses of the day versus what is really important. It has been a rough year for me health wise, I am preparing for the 2nd surgery on my right eye, and it's the 3rd surgery of the year total. We have had a heart breaking month of events with our adopted son who struggles with severe emotional disabilities and other disorders; he is 18 and can not live at home and walked away from his residential care a month ago. He is now in trouble with the law and we really can't do anything to help him, except pray, which we do. My husband has had health issues, although not serious, they have been draining for him. Both of my sisters have had health issues this year, one of them very serious and it continues for her. All of my brothers have had family issues that have caused a great deal of pain. I continue to struggle with the ME/CFS and progress is slow. There have been many minor issues as well, but I don't want to list them all.
So, in the midst of this, what do I see as important? God's mercy. His grace. His love. The promise of eternity. That today is not forever. When the Bible talks about where your house is built (on the Rock or on the sand) and the storms that come and beat on it, it is an apt picture, for the storms do come and believe me they do beat down on you! But there is an unbelievable peace in the midst of the grief, a peace I cannot explain but am experiencing, that gives strength and sustains me. This life is simply not all that there is. It just isn't. The birds sing, the leaves glow, there is a breeze in the air. And frankly sometimes in the midst of grief, these things can almost seem irreverent, almost seem like a slap in my face and I want to shake my fist at them and say "How can these things be, this beauty, this loveliness, when I am in such pain and the world around me is upside down??"
But these things, this loveliness, is a promise. It's a statement to me, that no matter the darkness of the moment, the moment is not all there is. The moment does not define me. Instead I am defined by my Creator and the promise is that I will someday be in a better place where there is no pain and no grief. I am grown by the grief and pain, I am stretched by it but because of God's love of me, I am not overcome by it. There is much beauty around me and I will see it, and drink it in and be grown by it as well as the grief.
I am thankful for what is really important!
And now, I will take the dogs outside and enjoy this moment.