Jesus: 31 So you believe now? 32 Be aware that a time is coming when you will be scattered like seeds. You will return to your own way, and I will be left alone. But I will not be alone, because the Father will be with Me. 33 I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order. John 16:31-33 VOICE
Week 1 – Hope
“As for me, I will wait for the Eternal, even though He feels absent, even though He has hidden His face from the family of Jacob. I will put all hope in Him.” Isaiah 9:17 Voice
A story of hope.
It’s called the rainy season for an obvious reason. Late August and September have been when the tropics kick up the strongest storms here in South Florida. Instead of the usual summer thunderous downpours that last 20 minutes and leave deep puddles these systems are a quiet rain that are off and on all day leaving the grounds saturated.
Outdoor plans for this Monday holiday will be cancelled. Instead, people will go to a movie or shop the sales. Maybe even stay home and consider the blurred view through the raindrops.
Rain seems to soften things and we could use some softening in this country. Softer voices, opinions, egos. A softer heart and ears inclined to hear the soft cries of others.
If only I liked coffee…..
There would be more heart to heart conversations.
My cabinet shelf would be lined with mugs with the cutest sayings like “But first coffee”.
There would be more places to meet with friends for a quick ‘cuppa’.
I’d fit in.
I’d know the lingo at Starbucks when I try to order chai tea twice a year. (Since grande means large in Spanish why doesn’t it mean large at Starbucks?)
But I don’t like coffee. The bitter taste or the strong smell. I can barely walk down the coffee aisle at the grocery store that has a grinder for the beans.
We have a 2-cup coffee maker that stays in our pantry until our son-in-law visits. I buy a bag of Dunkin Hazelnut flavor coffee because I can handle it’s mild aroma.
Yes, if I liked coffee some things would be easier and maybe a little more fun. It would open up more gift ideas for my family. But I don’t like it. I won’t.
I suppose in today’s climate some would call me a hater. Sometimes we just don’t like something. And we need to remember how to agree to disagree.
I’ll still have you over. We’ll break out the 2-cup coffee maker but you’ll have to make it yourself. I wouldn’t trust someone to make something they don’t like so you shouldn’t trust me to make it either. It will be a flavored coffee (so I can tolerate the smell) which is my meeting you half way. I’ll have a cup of tea or maybe iced tea. I make a good sweet iced tea. We may not understand our differences but we’ll laugh about life because laughing is good. And our differences are what makes us better.
(The above photo was taken at the Chocolate Shop in Dillsboro, North Carolina where I walked quickly past the fragrant beans to get to the fudge – the only reason we were there.)
Our granddaughter waved the wand through the air just above her cousin so the bubbles would float down toward him. He would stretch out his hand to touch them. Of course, they popped. At first his expression was a little like confusion. He’s 9 months old and everything is new to him. Blueberries exploding in his mouth and biting into a peach with its fuzzy exterior and juicy inside – all new. What is predictable to us is brand new to him.
We watched the bubbles blowing, floating and popping longer than we’d listen to each other. His joy was infectious. These glossy orbs wafting through the air were mesmerizing. Their popping into nothing was a bit magical. Now you see them – now you don’t.
I stood back hoping to capture some of this magic on my camera. I deleted more than I kept. Trying to capture moving things, especially ones as unpredictable as something being moved by the air, is tricky. I wanted to get the baby’s expression, and the luster of the bubbles and his hand reaching out all in one shot. Delete. Delete. Delete.
I looked at each one wondering if editing would salvage it. The one above came up and I could quickly tell it wasn’t a keeper. My nephew is looking away and appears to be grabbing at some orange plastic thing. The granddaughter’s face is cut off and it’s not a good photo. Until I realized the photo isn’t in the foreground. The real photo is the blurry part in back.
Sometimes we miss the real magic.
Our scenery is about to change from an ocean view to one of a lake nestled between the mountains of North Carolina. A variety of flowers burst with color around the lake and in yards of summer rentals.
Change can be unwelcome and challenging but this one is welcome. We’ll get to leave the stifling humidity of our very long summer to breathe in a morning chill.
We’ll stop at our favorite spots: Clyde’s diner for Sunday breakfast and the orchard to order our pies and buy our first dozen of apple cider donuts. And give a smile at the rolling accent of the locals ringing up our order.
Change is always easier when it’s our choosing. Not necessarily better.
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
– Reinhold Niebuhr