Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I mentioned in another post that I spent part of a day running errands earlier this week.  I had to make a quick trip to the town next to me to pick up my thyroid medicine.  However, it ended up being a day I was feeling quite well, so on a whim... I went treasure hunting at the Goodwill near my pharmacy, drove to Barnes & Noble to enjoy British decorating magazines and new cookbooks, perused the shelves of the Goodwill store in my town, and ended up meeting Christopher for lunch at the University.

While for some people, such a day would be normal and long ago in my own journey it would have been just another day... for me in this body and in this part of the journey... such a day is a rare jewel.  Just the evening before my husband had asked if I wanted to run errands together the next morning and I declined as I wasn't feeling well.

I don't talk very much about my illness as that is not the central theme of these writings... and anyone with a chronic illness knows you do your best to retain your own identity and not wear a flashing neon sign which flickers off and on... BROKEN.

Don't get me wrong, there have been hours and days and entire years when I've stomped my feet and cried and pouted and acted like a two year old whose daddy is withholding candy because of circumstances in my life.

I don't know why God allowed chronic illness to attack or any other bad thing to enter the path He has set before me.  But I have learned this... when we allow suffering to have its perfect will in our life... when we know the One who was born to suffer for us... we learn that to suffer can bring its' own reward.

No, we don't learn it the first year or the second or even the sixth or seventh... but one comes to realize it is in the suffering that we cling to Him.  It is in the brokenness that we are made whole. It is the pain that keeps us on the path toward that Day when we meet Him face to face.  If we love Him only if He heals us... we do not truly love Him.

We in the western world do not like to hear such things.  Instead we turn to teachers that tell us God makes us healthy and wealthy and if bad things happen to good people it is because they just aren't believing hard enough.  Much like the little child who reminds Santa that it has to be the red bike or nothing on Christmas morning, we shake our fist at Him and say pain was not in the original agreement.

But He only has to send us back to the Owner's Manual to read the words not filtered through man's preferred theology.  We live out our days on a fallen planet where there are storms and wars and famine and enemies of all kinds.  There is illness and unemployment and lack and fear.  We only have to look at Libya this week... Australia within the past few months... Haiti not only in the past year but for decades... or to visit the pediatric ward at the local hospital... it isn't Heaven, yet.

I was curled up on my sofa late Friday night waiting for Christopher to return home from a date with Miss M.  My husband was already sound asleep.  Candles were lit in the living room... one of them perfuming the air around me, lamps on the chandelier had been lowered with the dimmer switch... reflecting just a little light on the china in the corner cabinet.

I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for my cozy little house, the bookshelves heavy with favorite books, inherited antiques with memories of the homes they originally occupied, favorite artwork, photos of loved ones... and a Maine Coon kitty curled up snoozing nearby.  A feeling of amazement at how He has taken that which is broken and made a home and a life.  Far from the original plans... but good.

No... this is not our permanent Home.  I have always felt when each of us who love Him enter Eternity, we will instantly feel that we've come home... that this is what we were longing for all along.  Just as a mother forgets the pain as she holds the newborn child in her arms, I believe we will no longer think of all the pain we felt in this life.  Instead... we will know the destination was worth it all.

That is what faith and hope are all about.

15 comments:

Linds said...

Wonderful, Brenda. You could have written this for me too. Exactly. And even amidst the foul parts, there is always reason to give thanks.

Vee said...

Yes, it will be just what we have waited a lifetime for. Still, it's important to choose life and to be here while we are here. We have work to do yet. I admire those who forge on with great faith who could easily toss their hands into the air and and essentially give up. Your life is a wonderful testimony of God's working it through as you allow Him. The way you appreciate the good days is wonderful. It's always been a blessing to me to visit Coffee Tea Books and Me and most especially to join you for Sunday Afternoon Tea. Blessings to you...

carolee said...

Love your blog. Hold steady...God has a plan and holds you in His hand. Would love to send you a copy of my book, if you'd send me your snail mail address. Carolee@caroleesherbfarm.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. It was exactly what I needed this morning.

Valerie

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

Oh Brenda~ What a wonderful post. It really blessed me today. Thanks so much!
Have a blessed day,
Lisa :O)

JSD said...

Thank you, Brenda. It's been a long time since my last visit (work gets in the way of Internet journeys!), and I really needed this today as I battle a war within in the form of something bronchitis-y. I really do sound like a machine gun when I cough. :)

Thanks again for your good and helpful thoughts.

~Janie

Linda said...

Well said. Isn't contentment a joyous thing. Linda

Anonymous said...

Your posts are always enjoyable. Your mention of Keurig K-cups presented a question. Do you find the K-cups more expensive than just buying coffee for a coffee maker? We're also on a tight budget and have felt a Keurig too expensive (with the initial purchase over $100 and the cost of K-cups). Thank you.

Emily said...

You have blessed me with your wise reminders today, Brenda. May we always remember that His grace is sufficient.

Thoughts for the day said...

What a wonderful testimony of God's power to strengthen you when you aren't strong, to comfort you when you feel no comfort, to surround you with warm arms when your soul is shaken. We do learn to lean on him when we cannot stand alone. Thank you for this powerful message.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing what is on your heart. It touched me just where God knew I needed it. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Our aging bodies bring similar thoughts and conversations here too. Today driving home 10 hours from this part of a business/pleasure trip we were talking about how we hope our REAL HOME someday will be in a place that looked so much like eastern Kentucky and Tennessee that we were viewing today...rocky, rolling hills, small mountains, gushing stream (waterfall actually), and of course, a sweet little log cabin beside it all. And of course, just a small apt. in Jerusalem for attending the feasts, and festivals there from time to time. We had a great time dreaming!! We have not been in home we were buying for over a decade now...but it does not matter really. If we rent till we leave this life, twill be just fine!

jackie said...

An excellent post! God has been leading me in the same way lately. Different circumstances ~ same lesson. God bless you!

Living on Less Money said...

I'm so glad to have found your site. I saw you on Copperswife and since you mentioned Tulian (I'm a new follower of his) I decided to check out your blog. I'm sure glad I did. My husband became disabled last year and is unable to work so we have something else in common. I will come back this evening when I have more time and read your posts on the pantry for recessions. I need every bit of advice I can get at this point to stretch our pennies. Blessings!

tonia said...

so lovely. Thank you for this.