Reflecting on Swirl….

The autumn skies have stopped me short the past few days. Dramatic clouds cover the bright blue sky and provide the perfect backdrop for the changing leaves and browning fields. It’s cool enough to enjoy a walk, yet not so cold that you can’t stay out as long as you like. So I was drawn to this spectacular photo by my friend Robert, of Ekala Falls in West Virginia. I love the contrast between the swirling water in the foreground and the water rushing over the rocks in the background. The swirl can draw you in, as though nothing exists outside of that little corner of the world. It’s easy to hang onto a hurt, or allow a setback to lead you to despair. A minor flaw or misstep can distort our view of progress, or cause us to think less of ourselves or others. We turtle in, rather than taking another risk, rather than allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Yet like this swirling water, our isolation only serves to collect fallen leaves and broken branches. When we turn in on ourselves, we fail to notice the vibrant life that rushes past us, the abundant life we are promised by the Architect of the Universe. We become separated from one another and separate from our Creator. I don’t know about you, but I need another to help me find my way back. I must first trust the visible before I can take the leap of faith and reach for the invisible. I must be coaxed back into the fold, encouraged to take a chance, to allow myself to be vulnerable, to give myself permission to try, and perhaps fail, once again. And every time I find myself back in that rushing water, I am sure I will never fall prey to the swirl again. Take time today to be vulnerable, to make room for the Almighty to work. Pause to give thanks for those God has placed in your life, trusting a friend or family member to nudge you out of your comfort zone. Take one baby step, and then another, until you can manage that leap of faith. And always remember, God welcomes us back with open arms again and again, no matter how many times we lose our way. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo by Robert H Clark ©2012, used with his permission. To see more of his work, check out his blog at http://roberthclarkphotographyblog.com/

Reflecting on the Pit….

It’s a quiet, peaceful morning, still cool from last night’s rain. I woke early and took a leisurely walk around the yard with our dog. It’s funny how the same view can appear so different over time, or perhaps the view is the same and it’s me that’s different. Like my beautiful yard, this amazing art by my friend Jeanne seems to defy simple explanation. I have been pondering this work for quite awhile, slowly letting go of the analytical and opening up the emotional. The common thread through my contemplations has been the Pit, so often mentioned in the Psalms. I must admit struggling with how this glorious and beautiful work could evoke the image of the Pit. There have been times in my life when the Pit has been all I could see. There was no way out, no past or future, only the present pain. I lost sight of God, but not before I lost sight of the Godly people in my life. I believe the Psalmist speaks of depression, of despair, of hopelessness. You give up on life and in so doing lose your life. Does it really matter if you physically perish once the Pit has swallowed you up? Perhaps you have suffered from depression, or know someone who has. You may be able to look up, to see the vastness above, while another seems only to see the narrowness of their current situation. We are meant to live in community, to be there for one another, to hold each other up in prayer. When we are caught in the Pit, others can see beyond the pain, slowly bring joy back into our lives, turn our eyes back toward God. Take time today to reach out to others, to hold them in your heart, to pray for their concerns. Let go of judgment, simple solutions, expected outcomes. Simply be there for someone else, or ask another to be there for you. Trust that a healing has been prepared, in God’s time, not our own. And remember through it all the words of the Psalm 40:1-3,

I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the Pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the LORD.

Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Art entitled ‘Vortex’ by Jeanne Mischo ©2012, used with her permission, to see more of her work, go to http://jeannemischo.wordpress.com/

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