Nancy, Rayann and I moved into our new home last December.
We quickly took care of some of the inside projects and then turned toward settling in and having a season of rest and peace.
All winter long I have been walking around our yard, envisioning what could be and thinking about what it would be like to get out into the yard and start putting things in order. I had a list (yeah I know…no big surprise) and spent time on Craigslist searching out free supplies to complete everything. As the weather started to turn toward spring I would jump outside and begin to take care of one piece and plan other projects.
Two weeks ago all those plan and projects were placed on hold. What used to be important was now suddenly not as high a priority as it used to be.
Today was a beautiful day. I spent some time on our porch smelling the smells of spring, the fresh earth ready for planting. Looking at what were to be the projects of this summer across the front of the house. It was both exciting and demoralizing at the same time. I loved being outside, listening to the birds, feeling the warm sun and cool breeze on my face and enjoying the home God has blessed us with for this first spring season.
At the same time the experience was demoralizing. On a Cancer / chemotherapy free day I would have been out working in the yard. Today it was a victory to sit with Owen on the porch. When I first got out there all I could do was think about what I was not doing. I was focused on the stairs I had planned to replace, the deck which was going to get power washed and then painted, the sidewalk which was going to get pulled up and then poured again. My eyes were drawn to the stone steps which needed to be pulled up, re-leveled and set again. I saw the overgrown flowerbeds and everything that I was planning to pull out so we could start fresh.
At some point my attitude / vision changed. I was able to put all of the projects aside and thank God for this peaceful place to sit and be still. I was able to laugh at Owen, my daughters dog, as he explored the porch in search of God knows what. The music of the birds which live in the woods which surround our home began to help me be still and settle. No, things were not perfect…yet they were very, very good.
A few minutes later Joseph and Rayann went outside and began to work on one part of the yard which I had a hard time looking at. They cleaned up sticks, raked leaves and stacked wood for the winter. What was a mess turned into a beautiful piece of our lawn. All the Time God is Good…God is Good All the Time.
The truth is my projects, and they are just that…my projects do not matter. If it takes the next ten years to accomplish them…so be it. I am 47 years old. So far my life experience has taught me the seasons follow one after the other and I am confident they will continue to do so. With all the prayers being offered on my behalf I have faith there will be another Spring and Summer where I will be able to transform our yard into the vision I have for it.
I went back onto the porch later in the afternoon. As I sat enjoying the place God had provided for me and my family I was struck by this reality: Over my life I have had the privilege to travel all over the world. I have been in Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and England. One thing those of us who have lived in the US all our lives often lose sight of is how blessed we are. We think of what we want, of how things could be better if we had just a little more or if things were just a little different. The truth is our experience of life is very different than most of the world.
My challenge, our challenge is to learn to live with an awareness of how blessed we are even when it feels like our life is anything but blessed. Less than one week after my diagnosis I was receiving my first chemotherapy treatment! My second will either be next Friday or Monday. For all the talk of a broken healthcare system (there are definitely improvements to be made) I am being given the best treatment and the greatest hope for the future. In a very large part of the world my condition would never have been diagnosed and I would have slowly gotten worse with no hope for improvement. I am glad I live here…I am blessed.
We need to be asking God for the vision to see the ways in which we are blessed.
Sometimes it is hard to see, we need the Spirit’s help to see the world clearly.