Reflecting on Resilience….

Spiral Migration by Jeanne MischoWe had a warm spell recently that even fooled my garden. Bulbs began to burst forth, flowering shrubs began to bud, and then the weather turned bitterly cold. Today the skies are a brilliant blue, with just a few wispy clouds. Looking out the window from my desk, it’s hard to conceive how cold it is. I’m captivated by the strong sunlight, rather than dwelling on the obvious signs of winter. So I was drawn to this beautiful art by my friend Jeanne, of birds migrating in a spiral. I love how Jeanne combines math and science with images of nature. A tree grows out of the center of the spiral, a tree that reminds me of the Shaker tree of life. The birds swirl around the tree, moving ever upward, ever closer to the Architect of All Creation. Life is messy by definition, and seldom what we expect or plan for. The happily ever after of fairy tales doesn’t describe most of the paths we follow. Perhaps we are too married to the idea of a straight line path, the idea that we can always see the way ahead. We call the unexpected in life sharp corners, or say we have been blindsided, or simply feel lost and alone. Some of us even allow the vagaries of this life to bury us under a succession of small sadnesses, accumulating into an existence of gloom and despair. Others are like the birds in this image, or the scene out my window. All is well, even when it’s freezing cold. What fuels this ability to persevere? What allows some to bounce back, to recover readily, to seem to defy gravity? I don’t know about you, but I cannot manage such strength alone. It takes more than just personal prayers, more than time in scripture. I must be part of a community that draws me to the center, that reminds me of the Source of All Life. I need someone to pray for me when I cannot find the words or motivation to pray for myself. I need someone to remind me that all will be well, to ease the burden, to keep me on the path ahead. Make time today to pray for those you love and cherish in this life. Ask what to pray for, and let them know you pray for them. Reach out to others and seek their prayers, trusting that God has prepared a way out of the corner you feel painted into. Let the Almighty mold your sharp corners in to gentle curves, to turn darkness into light, to show you the good in even the most dire of situations. Trust the promise of Matthew 7:7-8

            Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

And always remember, when we trust in the Lord our God, we become like the tree whose branches bend and sway in a storm, remaining flexible and strong amid the challenges of this life. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Art entitled ‘Spiral Migration’ by Jeanne Mischo ©2012, to see more of her work, go to


Reflecting on Resilience….

The clouds are darkening and we expect thunderstorms later in the day. Folks are checking for damage from Tuesday’s earthquake here in Virginia, still marveling at the unexpected. Older buildings didn’t fare as well, with the downtown district in Culpeper suffering the most impact. The newer buildings held up, stronger and more resilient than our historic homes. So I was drawn to this photo of a dragonfly, taken by my friend David. This insect looks more like a jewel than a living creature. The light plays off his wings and the surface beneath him. This photo captures the feelings often evoked by a dragonfly, a sense of mystery and rare beauty. I have encountered dragonflies in the oddest places. Often when I am stuck in traffic, one will land on my windshield. Just when I am at my boiling point, fed up with being stuck, I am reminded there is so much more to life than my current frustration. To see such beauty in such an unexpected place is a great gift. While Christians favor the butterfly a symbol of resurrection, many cultures prefer the dragonfly. This insect is considered a symbol of rebirth and triumph over adversity. Their eggs can live up to six years before hatching. Dragonflies winter over, choosing which season to hatch. The mature dragonfly only exists for about two months. The elegant and illusive beauty we cherish is also fleeting. Yet like a prima ballerina, this insect is both beautiful and powerful. Dragonflies gracefully move in any direction, with wings 30 times more powerful than any other insect. Yet what I find most incredible is their eyes, which allow them to see in all directions. Take time today to look beyond your current frustrations. Drink in the unexpected beauty of your surroundings, looking past the cracks in your life and soul. Consider ways to be more resilient, to triumph over adversity. Trust that God is in control, even when life seems out of control, and allow the healing power of awe and wonder to transform your view of world. Photo by David Buckwalter

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