Friday, February 15, 2008

A Slight Detour

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us—and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a gift of grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful man knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

--From Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to your God to order and provide; In every change God faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake to guide the future, as in ages past.

Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.

--Be Still, My Soul

It truly is an amazing thing, putting your faith in God. My journey of faith has seen many twists and turns, ups and downs, questions and answers. And the last year and a half of my life has been no exception. Making the decision to move to Missouri has involved much deliberation, discussion and debate. And ultimately, much faith.

I am now beginning to understand, in a new way, why the Lord can be trusted.

This week we learned that my mom has breast cancer. This, we absolutely did not see coming. Why would we have? True, one of the big factors influencing our move was my parents’ known health concerns (my dad’s heart and my mom’s Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, or CLL) but those were, for the most part, issues that weren’t life threatening. Their health concerns were more issues related to general aging and they simply served to remind us that life is short. We wanted to make sure that we could enjoy time with my parents while they still “had their health.” Of course, by moving closer, we would then also be in a position to be more fully involved when and if their health required assistance from others.

Now, suddenly, everything seems to have been put on fast forward.

But I am so grateful.

Grateful for our decision to go ahead and move before John had a job lined up, even though, in some respects, that could be viewed as unwise.

Grateful for my parents’ willingness to take us into their home, despite the close quarters and many sacrifices required on their part.

And simple gratefulness for the everyday minutia that, at times, can seem stifling, but in hindsight, is a comfort and a joy.

Throughout this journey of the past year and a half, when we didn’t know when we would actually move or where we would stay when we got here or where John would work or… the list goes on… I have clung to a verse from Acts 17:26b that reads:

“…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”

But I think I need to add the verse from the hymn above to my daily mantra:

Leave to your God to order and provide; In every change God faithful will remain.

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