the comfort of three

I wear three bracelets on my left wrist and during a quiet time the other day, I was contemplating why I feel so strongly that I need to wear all of them. And I realized that the comfort they offer goes far beyond the habit and the physical sensation of having them there. Each bracelet is different and each represents important, even vital, aspects of my life.
One is a cuff bracelet with the phrase “always in my heart” engraved on it. I’ve worn it every day since I purchased one for myself and both of my daughters after my mother-in-law passed away last November. I’ve come to see it represents not just my mother-in-law and her loving heart, but all those that have come before me. They are the foundation I have built my life on, and without them, I would not be the person I am today.
I also wear a beautiful double strand braided gold chain bracelet that my husband gave me in honor of of our 25th anniversary. In the 11-plus years I’ve been wearing it, it has come to represent the interweaving of our two lives. Each visibly separate, but intricately connected. It is my present, the circle of love that surrounds my daily life.
And “last but not least” is an expandable bracelet with a charm that says “Nana”. I received it as a Mother’s Day gift, and I proudly wear it in honor of my grandchildren and my children as well. Because without my daughters and sons-in-law, I would not have this amazing blessing of being a grandmother. They are the future, not just my future, but the future of the world. I pray that at least a tiny part of my love will live on in them and perhaps be the foundation of their lives…

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I see the moon…

Driving to work before sunrise this morning, I saw a beautiful full moon playing hide and seek from behind layers of streaky clouds. At times it was in full view, glowing brightly in a blue-black sky. And at other times it was almost completely hidden from sight. The times it was hidden from view did nothing to diminish it’s beauty when I next caught a glimpse of it. If anything, the moon seemed a little brighter, a little more beautiful each time I saw it. I was so taken with the sight, it was hard to focus on driving. I would much rather have pulled over to the side of the road and just watched the moon, but work has to come first.
As I continued on my way, the twists and turns in the road allowed me occasional glimpses of the moon. As I drove, I noticed how at times, whether due to the clouds or the turns of my route, the moon was completely out of sight. Yet at other times, it seemed as if I was driving straight toward it.
It occurred to me that this drive was a perfect analogy for God’s presence in our lives. Whether – like the clouds – life seems to get in the way, or – like the twists and turns of the road – the choices we make lead us away from God’s path, sometimes the light of God’s love is obscured. But like the moon, God is always there.
As children, we’re taught that the moon is always there, Whether we see all the glory of the full moon or only the merest shadow of a new moon, we accept that the moon does not ever go away. Cloudy nights do not make us doubt the moon’s existence, neither do the cycles that cause the moon to gradually fade from sight or the times that our journeys call us to move away from the light of the moon.
Yet, when we face difficulties in life, whether like the clouds they are beyond our control – illness, injury, the loss of a loved one, unemployment – or like the twists in the road, when we make choices that turn us away from God – rudeness, selfishness, unkindness – many people are so quick to say that they can’t see God in these circumstances so God cannot exist.
But, like the moon, God is always there, willing to shine His love to light our way. It seems when we find this light blocked, we become so focused on the darkness in our lives it becomes harder and harder to find the way to God’s light.
Perhaps we can learn to trust that the light is available to us if we will just take our focus off the darkness. If we can give that darkness to God, the clouds will clear and we can see God in our circumstances. And like the moon, God will be able to shine brightly in our lives during the good times and the bad.

Be joyful in hope

“Be joyful in hope – choose joy”

I have a bookmark with this important reminder; that every day, in every situation we have the option to see the positive, the hope, the joy. It’s not always easy to see the joyful side. The negatives, the difficulties seem more apparent, and they can easily sway our mood and attitude if we focus on them. But if we look at a typical day, we do overlook potential difficulties on a regular basis- if we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning!

So, the question becomes: why, when faced with new or unusual situations are we so ready to focus on potential problems? Are there really more negatives in new situations? Or are they simply different? In that difference, if we choose to see it, is the potential for positive, for joy.

In Romans 12:12, Paul reminds us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. To look for the positive in situations; to persevere rather than quit, trusting that God will use the situation to bring about something good; and to always ask God into the situation…

I think that is a step we often forget – to ask God to guide our thoughts, our words and our actions. When we try to go it alone, without God, we often feel we have to solve perceived problems ourselves, Yet if we ask God into the situation, if we look for the joy, we may find that the positives outweigh our perceived negatives.

As I prepare for transitions ahead, I choose to ask for God’s guidance and to be joyful in hope.