There's that patchwork barn from my road trip of a week or so ago. Really the dreamy light does not do it justice. Can you imagine how many pizzas that rancher had to buy for the teenagers who painstakingly used all the oops paint in a creative manner? (Imagine with me, if you will. 'Cause I don't know anything about this barn or its owner other than it made my girls and me smile and wonder and make up fun stories about its quirky paint job.)
Outside my window the forget-me-nots and lilacs have upstaged the fading show of daffodils and tulips. Daisies and columbines wait in the wings for the next act. This springtime is gorgeous in our area, and I'm almost feeling guilty because I know so many are suffering through floods and severe weather patterns. Friends of ours who are serving in the earthquake recovery of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti are already experiencing punishing heat. Other friends are just now driving home to Oregon from storm ravaged Kentucky. The news from around the world is bleak. The radio and television stations are talking about the end of the world and they're not singing lyrics from a pop song when they do so.
The African violets on my windowsill have nothing to do with the parade of blooms outside, with my continuing barn obsession nor with the darting hummingbirds nor mounting projects stacked on my sewing table.
And, honestly. My faith has nothing to do with predicting whether tomorrow is the beginning of the end of the world. I hesitate to say any of this for the record, on the world wide web. But my faith is in the thin vein of beauty and truth, an ore much more precious than a prediction of dire circumstances on a certain date.
My God is a God of mercy and, yes, I hope you know Him too. I hope that judgment day is not a reason for fear for you because none of us can achieve the standard but through grace. Amazing grace.
My pantry is full and, yes, I hope yours is too. But I hope you aren't just hoarding water and canned goods for a catastrophe but rather thoughtfully planning how to take care of yourself and your family and your neighbors if need be.
Oh I so rarely get on a soapbox here but I can feel myself stepping up there now.
I read on a web site today about how much food to store per person for certain periods of time, making my notes and commenting to myself how similar the lists were to the provisions the pioneers must have packed for their westward journeys. And right after I found myself nodding with the web site's writer, I read that I should instruct my family to never, under any circumstances, disclose that we have stored food for emergencies.
Because I want you to know, my real and virtual neighbors alike, that what I have I will share. That whatever we can do for one another in the event of an earthquake or storm or financial hardship is what we should do.
It's obviously easy to say this from my comfortable chair in front of my computer screen, electricity humming and refrigerator full, children tucked in and husband reading by the sound of the Giants game on the radio.
I have a comfortable chair, a comfortable life. I'm guessing you do too.
But I never want to be so comfortable that I forget that some others are decidedly not. I want to share my comfort, my knowledge of God's mercy and grace, before others are frightened into a judgment day panic mode just as I want to share my pantry's contents with a hungry neighbor.
Take care, dear readers and neighbors. And as you're driving through the countryside of life, imagining the motivations and small joys of your fellow man, remember too their likely pains and trials as they too try to gather beauty in a sometimes ugly world.
I don't think tomorrow is the beginning of the end. But I do think we should live like it is. Not with fear nor with secrecy but with confidence and compassion. I think we should, I should, be willing to be a little less comfortable while it's still an easy choice. I think I should (because I know you don't come here for the preaching) place more emphasis on the bits of beauty, the patchwork-painted barns and the blooming violets and the play dough parties, because they are my icons for the joy of the world, for the hope of grace and glory amidst difficulty and strife. A true icon is very different from an idol; an icon points us to a larger truth while an idol, of course, is a substitute for the Truth.
May you find Truth and beauty and rest this weekend.
(And may I return with a lighter post next week.)