Reflecting on Uncertainty….

It’s turned cold again this morning, reminding us winter is far from over. No one seems sure how to dress for this weather, winter in the morning, perhaps like spring by the afternoon. So I was drawn to this photo of our back yard, taken by my husband Mark. Fog obscures the background, drawing your eyes to what my daughter calls the secret garden. In spring and summer, the overgrown shrubbery completely obscures the view. As a small child, she loved playing there, creating fanciful stories and imaginary worlds. My father brought us the bench from the Columbus Sale in New Jersey, almost twenty years ago. Yet what seems like a lovely place to sit is not now what it appears. The bench is broken, beyond repair. We struggle to keep poison ivy from crowding out the bulbs and other plantings. And my daughter is now a junior in high school, driving from here to there, rather than playing in our back garden. Life is far from certain, and often far from what it appears to be. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with uncertainty. In engineering school, I studied ways to model the world around us, to mathematically reduce the chaos into some semblance of certainty. Yet what really matters, the reasons we get out of bed each morning, the people and places we love most, defy all reason and calculations. To truly love one another we must accept uncertainty, throwing caution to the wind, opening our hearts to both the joy and the pain. Take time today to be truly present to those you love, accepting whatever life brings. Let go of your expectations and desire for control, let go of yesterday and tomorrow and cling to today. Empty yourself to make room for the Alpha and the Omega, the God of steadfast love that was, and is and always will be. And remember, ubi caritas et amor, where love and caring are, there is God. Photo by Mark Lindsey


Reflecting on the Nativity….

The early morning frost gave way to a mild and sunny afternoon. The warm weather takes me back to the first Christmas my husband and I spent together as a married couple, living in Los Angeles. We received a nativity set from my sister Lana, a fitting gift for our new life together. So I was drawn to this photo of that same nativity set, more than twenty years later, taken by my husband Mark. I can’t tell you how many moves we made since then. The nativity set has traveled with us, and hasn’t always fared well with the moves. If you look closely, you’ll see the shepherd has lost one foot, and must lean against the stable to stand upright. The thatched roof is worse for wear, certainly not offering much shelter from the elements. Sometimes I’ll notice a shiny new nativity set when we are shopping, but this one suits us just fine. Take time today to remember that very first Christmas, when the King of Kings deigned to become one of us, born in a lowly stable. Consider his first followers were shepherds, the lowest of the low, despised by the priestly elite. And remember, that same King of Kings still seeks after us all, not matter how battered, or how lost.

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Verses 3 & 4 of Angels We Have Heard on High, Photo by Mark Lindsey

Reflecting on the Day After….

Thunderstorms rolled through the area last night, moving on and leaving us with a picture perfect September day. Many churches, including ours, offered special services in remembrance of September 11th. So I was drawn to this photo of the twin towers taken by my husband Mark over twenty years ago. On a day trip to New York City, we went to the top of one of the towers. The view of the city skyline was amazing. As we left, Mark lay down on the ground and took this photo looking up. He said it was the only way to take it all in. So today, the day after the anniversary, I wonder if looking up is the only way to take it all in. There is no human answer to what happened, or why it happened. We were living in the north of England on September 11, 2001. It was surreal to be so far away when something so frightening was happening here at home. Yet perhaps God provided us another view of what it means to live beyond terrorism. The English have long dealt with this fact of life. Our family was surrounded by love, with folks we barely knew asking after us and making sure we were comforted so far from home. Flowers were left at the gate of the post, or tucked into the fencing. What I heard most, or perhaps remember most, was the firm resolve that only love could conquer such fear. I used to think that hate was the opposite of love. Now I believe that fear is the opposite, or perhaps the absence of love. Love is like a light that blots out the darkness of fear. Yet such love is only possible through faith in God. Take time today to choose love over fear, to shine light on someone in darkness. Open your heart to their story and allow yourself to be vulnerable. And remember to look up, it’s the only way to take it all in. Photo by Mark Lindsey

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