Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blue Skies, Gray Skies, and Learning to Trust

I think I live in the wrong place.  While it seems laughably obvious, I had some sort of epiphany this summer.  Allow me to backtrack a bit.  We had an odd summer.  In reality, we had one week, maybe two, of true summer, (true summer consisting of 85+ degree days that begin with the bright sun bursting through the blinds in the morning, and end with deliciously warm nights).  The rest of the summer months more closely resembled really nice spring days --- cool cloudy mornings, sun emerging late afternoon with just enough time left in the day to push the mercury to 74.  Don't get me wrong, I like 74, but 85 energizes my soul and makes me giddy.  Ninety degrees is even better.

My epiphany arrived the first part of August along with the stores' fall/winter lines.  As if on cue, friends and acquaintances began mentioning the fall chill in the air.  Fall chill?  How could we have a fall chill when we never had a summer sweat?  (I struggle to maintain my gracious Christian attitude when people speak excitedly of fall chills.)  It was one weekend when I had an unusual amount of people mention their anticipation of the winter rain that I realized I was not designed to live in the Pacific Northwest.  That rather than all these people being really strange to love rain, maybe I was the strange one for being here.  I realized God created this section of the world for people who actually like gray and wet.  If He put an ounce of such appreciation within me, I have yet to find it.  I appreciate the greenery the rain affords.  I tell myself I wouldn't have the green without the rain, and then I see places like Hawaii that feature both sun and green and figure the two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

For those who have never experienced anything resembling Seasonal Affective Disorder, all my whining may seem like a bunch of hooey.  For those of us who feel like Eeyore when the sky turns gray and quickly resemble Tigger if the sun peaks through, the oppressiveness of nine months of gray skies is overwhelming to say the least.

The epiphany, coupled with my current study of 2 Corinthians, inspired my quest to make peace with my current setting.  Granted, we could pack up the family and move.  That is an option.  And if God says to move someplace tropical, I won't argue.  (Although if I step back and honestly assess the situation, I have to admit it would be incredibly hard for me to leave the support system and friendships I have established here.)  But, I'm increasingly aware that I need to be content where God has placed me.  And that means not whining about gray skies and rain.  That maybe (gasp, shudder, shake my head in denial), just maybe, I can be at peace with gray.  I know God could even get me to the point that I like the wet stuff, but that seems almost like I'd be betraying myself, so my goal at this point is peace. :-)

As I've read about Paul's life - his travels, heartaches, trials, persecutions - his faith and trust in God's sovereign plan for his life has convicted me.  He embraces weakness and rejoices in affliction for it affords him the opportunity to boast in God's strength.  He believes God's strength is perfected in weakness, and he truly sees difficulties as opportunities to watch God work.  I want to be like that.  When I wake up on dark, gray, gloomy mornings and would prefer to return to dreamland under my cozy covers, I instead want to bounce out of bed with thankfulness on my lips and excited anticipation to see God's handiwork in my day.  I want to bloom where God has planted me, focusing on His abundant goodness rather than the color of the sky.  I want to trust that He has put me here for a reason, even if it is "just" for me to become more dependent on Him.

Last night my kids and I watched Disney's Johnny Appleseed.  Do you remember the song?  I sang it in elementary school and Girl Scouts.  It's very simple, but sometimes wisdom resides in the simple.

Oh the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
The SUN and the RAIN and the appleseed.
The Lord is good to me.

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