I also got to see these adorable faces all day...
Now, I drive an hour or so in the dark and stare at this all day...
This and the faces of many tired, displaced and disgruntled souls. A little while ago, I went to the ladies room and saw my second tear-stained face of the day. Nerves are raw and tempers have flared...it has made some of those who escaped Katrina with homes and jobs wishing they hadn't been so fortunate. I am thankful that I am not one of those. I know it is only by God's grace. I too feel I have lost something in this deal. The gratitude for having a place to go back to and a job to report to each day is dimmed by what I had to walk away from. For the 2 plus weeks since we left home, I have been getting a taste of the life I want...and liking it. I spent the entire time caring for my family and doing very little thinking about myself. It was very nice.
Most mornings I woke to the smiling or sleeping faces of my niece's. I got to fix breakfast for the family and prepare snacks and activities for the kids. I also washed copious amounts of clothes, cleaned the constantly used kitchen and got very little sleep on account of my youngest niece who loses her pacifier about a dozen times a night and needs me to find it for her. But I don't remember being tired or irritated. In fact, yesterday morning as I left and kissed my niece's heads, I cried...I also cried on the way to the office, thinking about them waking up and having breakfast without me...I cried at my desk wondering what the kiddos were doing at 2:34pm...and I cried when my oldest niece said "Ti Ti!!!" as I walked in the door last night.
But they were good tears, I think. I think my niece's should touch my heart...and my heart should yearn for the gifts the Lord has given and those things He calls good. It should not lament the loss...but I do think I should feel it. If I don't feel the loss of something that was and is good...then what does that say about what God has given? The same thing applies to those suffering loss as a result of Katrina (even if it is just the loss of being able to sleep in one's own bed for a time). If there were no response, no emotion there would be something really wrong. We are made to love and feel intense gladness...we are also made to feel the opposite emotions. The sticking point is when pride enters in and tells us we have been deprived of something...that we deserve better than we have...that something has been stolen that is rightfully ours.
That is a lie...it is always a lie.
The bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord. The logical conclusion, then, is that the loss of good and perfect gifts is also His doing. The bible also says that God is faithful and just and works all things for our good. A thief doesn't rob for the good of the person he is robbing. God is no thief. He does not steal. He can't steal what belongs to Him. That is a point I trip up on a lot. I hold things too tightly and claim ownership when I have no right to. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." That includes my home, my job, my bed, my preferences, my church and my family.
Each of these, and so many more, have been touched, rearranged, threatened in some way, or take away somehow. There have been moments of emotion, moments when I am tempted to think too much about what has been lost, the Lord has been very faithful to remind me that one can not lose what one does not possess. The borrower can not consider loss what he returns to the lender.
If this experience has taught me anything it is that nothing is certain, nothing is constant, nothing is guaranteed...nothing, that is, except God. He is, was, always will be. He is faithful and unchanging...always good, always kind, always interceeding for us, always working everything to our good. What His word says about Him was true when it was written, before it was written, and regardless of current events. Because of this, He is all there is to rely on, look to, cherish and cling to.
Lord, help me to keep this in the forefront of my mind...to meditate on this and seek to emulate it always in my thoughts, emotions and response. Help me to say with the psalmist "O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. (Psalm 59:17)"