Reflecting on Anchors….

How Did the Anchor Become so Rusty by RabiriusIt’s a mild autumn morning with a hint of rain in the air. Showers may be on the way, but for now I can enjoy my second cup of coffee on a deck covered in leaves. It seems this time of year is more about endings than beginnings, about loss instead of gain. So I was drawn to this intriguing photo of a rusted anchor by my friend Rabirius. I love the stark contrast between the layers upon layers of rust and the smooth blues in the background. I can almost see the flakes about to fall, to feel the disintegration of the heavy iron. I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to feel rusty this time of year. I recall the loss of beloved family and friends, people who prayed over me and made sure I found my way back when life tempted me from the straight and narrow. Sometimes it seems so many have gone before me that every falling leave is another soul in heaven. At times like these, my morning prayers become more important than food and water. My burdens are more than this frail human frame can bear, but light work for the same Lord who conquered sin and death on the cross. So I empty myself to make room for God, to look beyond the corroded surface of this life to see the rock solid promise of the Eternal. I drop my rusty anchor into the depths of my soul, letting go of the good, and the bad and the ugly. I pray in front of an open window on the second floor, looking out over the century old oaks in my backyard. By the end of my morning devotions, I can see more than the falling leaves. I take a closer look at the empty branches, where the buds of new life are already formed. The resurrection is present in the midst of death, new beginnings in the midst of loss, abundant love in the midst of grief. Make time today to leave your burdens at the foot of the cross. Let go of your ways and your thoughts, trusting instead in the ways and thoughts of the Alpha and Omega. Pray without words, offering an uplifted eye, a heartfelt sigh, a single tear. Open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit, depending on the mystery of God to make up where we all fall short. And always remember, no matter how rusty you get, you can trust in the solid, steadfast love of God, who remains patiently waiting for your return. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, Photo entitled ‘How Did the Anchor Become So Rusty?’ by Rabirius ©2012, to see more of his work, go to his blog http://rabirius.wordpress.com

Reflecting on Off….

OFF by Michael EbbrechtIt’s been a rough week or two. I’m sure you have all had weeks like this, weeks where you feel a little off, as if life is simply overwhelming. So I was draw to this deceptively simple photo by my friend Michael Ebbrecht. I love the old brick and the rusted switch. It seems this switch and its three leads have survived all sorts of bad weather. The switch might even be stuck, rusted in one position. That’s how life feels to me right now, as if I’m stuck. Perhaps each individual problem doesn’t seem like much, but things just seem to multiply. It started with a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance while my husband was out of town. My daughter and good friend stayed with me, as they ruled out my heart and sent me home. This week meant more medical tests, each ruling out another possibility. So the mystery remains, while the prospect of another round of severe pain still looms over me. At the same time, my daughter and dog both had health issues, and an accident totaled my car. I don’t know about you, but at times like these, it’s difficult not to turtle in, to simply crawl into the corner and lick my wounds. The temptation to feel like a victim, to ask ‘Why me?’, to simply give up, can be hard to resist. It’s easy to cancel a party, or convince yourself that you just don’t have the energy to deal with a visit from a friend or your family. Most of all, I am tempted to skip prayer. I just can’t spare any time at all, simply can’t be bothered, and frankly, would rather not talk to God. Yet if I yield to that temptation, I’m the one severing the connection. I cut myself off from the Source of All Life, the Compassionate Creator, the Architect of the Universe. Make time today to peel away the rust, to reconnect the power, to turn the switch back on. Begin to pray again, even if it’s only an uplifted eye, a heartfelt sigh, a frustrated groan. Picture yourself leaving your burdens at the foot of the cross, as the Holy of Holies cradles you in his arms. Pray for the strength of the Almighty, rather than relying on your own. Most of all pray for patience and discernment, to be present to each situation as it arises. And remember, this too shall pass, and all shall be well, in God’s time, not our own. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo by Michael Ebbrecht ©2012, used with his permission

Reflecting on Appearances….

The morning has been calm and quiet, with grey skies and dampness in the air. I suspect there is a storm on the way, but it hasn’t arrived yet.  So I was drawn to this amazing photo of an old blue tractor taken by my friend Carole.  I love the contrast between the bright blue paint, the brown rust and red primer. We live in a rural county where old farm equipment like this tractor is a common sight.  You would think this tractor is on its last legs, yet more often than you might think, the engine is still good.  Perhaps the farmers are hoping the tractor will give up the ghost and pass away, to make room for a shiny new model. The tractor seems to defy them, year after year, persisting beyond all reason. We take so much stock in outward appearances, passing judgment on others based on how they look.  If we don’t like what we see, we don’t bother to look any further. Who knows what we might find if we stopped and looked beyond the obvious? One of the extended care facilities in our area displays photographs of the residents from their youth. While the nurses check to see if it is a good time to visit, you are left to ponder these pictures. If the person’s eyes are clearly visible, you can quickly tell who you are looking at. The nurses find visitors and residents both enjoy their time together because of these photos. Visitors see the residents in a new light, and often ask questions about the photos, only to hear stories of days gone by. Take time today to look beyond the obvious, to suspend judgment until you get to know the person inside. Pray to see through God’s eyes and hear through God’s ears, to be fully present to those you encounter.  And remember the surface may be rusted, but inside, the engine is still going strong. Photo by Carole Buckwalter © 2011, used with her permission


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