Sunday, July 4, 2010

2 Corinthians 3:17

Tonight as I was jogging (I swallowed two bugs - scratch that: two bugs flew to the back of my mouth and army crawled down my throat fluttering their wings and singing "Just You Wait 'enry 'iggins" from My Fair Lady) fireworks went off all around me. I could see them across Lake Erie lighting up the sky above Cedar Point. I could see them down the street where they are illegal. (My 8-year-old first cousin once removed: "Grandpa Jim's coming tomorrow with fireworks." My 8-year-old first cousin once removed's mom: "Grandpa Jim's going to prison.") I could hear them above and to the side and in every direction...much like the soldiers at Bastogne must've felt in 1944, only with a lot more pressing on their minds than the cramp I was getting in my side, shinsplints, and those two bugs hanging draperies in my stomach.

I distinctly remember my Fourth of July last year as if it were not an entire year ago. I was dog-sitting some pretty wealthy people's Siberian husky (named Tucker, but he was a girl) in a canyon of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City. I spent the day in my pajamas, watching the History Channel's all-day documentary on the Revolutionary War, eating cream cheese icing right out of the container, and journaling. When it got dark I could see fireworks going off in four different parts of the city from my front window. I don't remember Tucker being involved very much.

A certain sadness hung over me as I jogged around a large loop and watched the fireworks reflect in the water tonight. There was a lot ahead of me a year ago that is now behind me, but that looks a lot different now looking back than I thought it would. Like if you're in a boat and you're about to glide into this incredible clear water with lily pads (which are endangered, and you're not allowed to pluck them, because we need to save the lily pads for our unborn children) that have beautiful yellow and purple blossoms, and you just know they're going to smell beautiful...but once you get there the roots of the lily pads get tangled in the blades of your propeller and your boat breaks down, and you discover you're allergic to the scent of lily pad blossoms, and there are mosquitoes. When you finally make it out and on your way you look back, and the sight of the incredible clear water is now tainted by what you experienced, and you wonder if anything you come across in the future will ever be as clear and beautiful as the few moments before the lily pad blossoms turned into mosquitoes.

I don't know where I'll be next July 4th. I don't know what will happen in a year. I realized, though, as I watched fireworks from Ohio that I could've been watching in Utah a year ago, or Wisconsin two years ago, that I can't put my hope in circumstances anymore. I seem to learn this lesson over and over again. Circumstances change, shift, alter, break, or simply turn out different than you thought they would. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Who better to fix our eyes on instead of the uncertainty of "clear" water?

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them--the Lord, who remains faithful forever" (Psalm 118:8; 146:5-6).


Anonymous said...

You teach me so much, my sister. I remember walking with you in WI almost two months ago, and you talking about how our confidence can't come from circumstances. Your point here about not putting hope in circumstances echos what you said in May. I think you are so right. Our foundation is much more firm than shifting circumstances---or, we'd like it to be.

"He leads me beside still waters...he restores my soul." The clear water of that pond could be filled with a lot of uncertainty or tangled roots underneath, but that water is still because of the Prince of Peace that is with us there.

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