The leaves have started to change. It has not been a gradual change like when the trees slowly exchange their leaves from lush green foliage to red, orange, and golden Autumn splendor, but a sudden depressing event. Indeed it is as if the leaves were surprised to find that September has almost ended and fall has officially begun and they grabbed the first things found in their closets, which ended up being in drab, brown earth tones. Perhaps that is why the past couple of days have made me reflect on what has been and what is happening in the now, without any glorious epiphanies, only an ache and even possibly a loneliness that is mourning the quickly passing days as another year is quickly flashing by.
My heart is hurting, missing those who have gone on to glory ahead of me. I am remembering them all, their quirks and their strengths, and all of the wonderful times spent with them. Some helped me become the pixie I am today, patiently guiding me with their wisdom. Others were school friends who left this earthly life too soon. Still another was a much-loved brother. Robbed of vitality and made weak and frail in this life by a ravaging disease, he was one of the strongest, and most courageous people I have ever known. He graced us with his faith. He brought us joy with his devilish sense of mischief and humor that brought twinkles to his eyes. We will all be together again someday in the heavenly realms, and my life has been made the better just for having known them. So until we meet again I will treasure the storehouse of memories they have left with me.
My heart is hurting for Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American who has been in an Iranian prison for two years because he refuses to renounce his Christian faith. I can not even begin to comprehend the tortures he has endured. Nor can I fathom the anguish his wife has been and is continuing to go through not knowing if she will ever see her beloved again. I think of their two precious children who are being denied their father and grieve with him as he misses all of the daily moments of life with his family. I am also thinking of all of the Christians around the world who are also being persecuted for their faith and just pray for them, the pain and suffering, the loss of innocent people, the utter abominations their children are witnessing that are stealing the joys of childhood from them. I pray that these people all feel the compassionate, comforting, and loving hands of our God in the midst of all of the suffering and violence. We know that God will always give us joy and peace in our hearts if we ask for it, but that doesn’t mean that on this Earth we won’t encounter unspeakable troubles and horrors. Even in the midst of all of these atrocities God is present and he will help these people to overcome if that is their path, or to endure as the trials go on around them. He will be with them, just like He is with all of us until our work is done.
My heart is hurting for the friends that have come into my life and have since moved on. I am very grateful to have known all of these fantastic, talented, and lovely people and wish them all the best and that God will continue to shower them with blessings as they continue on their paths in life, even though their paths have now branched off from mine. Some keep in touch, others do not, but either way they are all still in my prayers. I am a firm believer in the “A Reason, A Season, and a Lifetime” philosophy which comes from a poem written by an unknown author. There are a couple of different versions of it floating around out their but all basically say the same thing. Some people come to us for a season and then move on. Others come to us for a reason. Either we are supposed to help them in some way, or they are here to help us with something, through something, etc, or possibly both, and then they too move on. A few we are blessed with for a lifetime, they go with us through our entire life’s journey. We never know if a new friend is here for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, but we can enjoy whatever time we do have together. You never know when you may bump into one of these souls again. Reuniting with old friends are joyous occasions, and make you appreciate each other that much more in my opinion.
Even though I have been feeling pensive, and a little sad, I realize that these times of sorrow and darkness are all part of living in a broken world. The second musical ever written by Rodgers and Hammerstein was called Carousel. It features a song called “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, a poignant song of perseverance through all things:
When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At he end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.
Yahweh is always a present light in all darkness, leading me through it and giving me hope and comfort. He will always walk with us, through the storms of life as well as the joys of life. I believe this with all of my being, but I still fall into these dark traps of despair. However I think that this is a good thing if it leads me to call out to Yahweh to help me, depending on him and surrendering all to him. These times of reflection allow me to see all of the blessing I have received in my life. God uses these times to cleanse my soul and refuels me with new purpose to go forward doing God’s kingdom work here on earth.
Even those trees will once again dress themselves in lush green leaves, just as soon as they have been cleansed by the white snows of winter. Praise God!
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19 NRSV