Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Turning my thoughts to that which brings peace

Thus says the Lord: stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16

The Bible verse above is the official motto of Coffee Tea Books and Me... and my personal True North.  It has been on the sidebar for as long as I can remember.  When the world is crazy, I look for the ancient paths and the ancient wisdom.

As I write this Sunday afternoon, I have my favorite John Denver CD playing next to my desk.  His music has been one of my happy places since I was a teenager.  This particular CD was purchased at Cracker Barrel two or three years ago and I can't tell you how many times it has been my go to music in uncertain times.

Last week was unprecedented in my lifetime.   I was not and am not fearful whatsoever.  However, I was unsettled.  I think most of us were.  It is human nature to feel this way when we are in uncharted waters.  It was difficult to concentrate on anything.

No books or movies would settle my thoughts.  A couple TV shows held my attention briefly.  I have a thank you note to write and there were two blog posts to write and... nothing.  Thoughts were cluttered in my mind, flying around much like a 747 circling to land at O'Hare during Holiday travel season.

I have been busy with the normal quotidian tasks of cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, folding towels, and waiting on Florentine and Mouse (the outdoor kitty) as their indentured servant.  I have sent a package to my daughter at the Post Office and stopped by a few grocery stores to purchase fruit and vegetables and milk and cream and... coffee.  I know, can you believe I ran out of K-cups?

China is already pointing a finger of blame at the U.S. for the virus, various politicians can not even wait until the crisis is over to wag their chins about what a terrible job the president and vice president have done protecting the American people.  Putin has decided to take advantage of the situation to destroy the American oil industry.  The news is not worth watching if we want to keep calm and drink tea carry on.

However, I've begun to notice less mental clutter and more concentration on what is important.  Like people and books and kitties and lovely photos of the blooming of gardens in the southern part of the nation.  I had quite the snowfall yesterday but the daffodils have been known to peek their buds through snow before.

A new season is about to bloom in all its' pastel beauty.  It may take awhile to reach this far north but it will come.  It always has.  It always will.  In spite of all the recent bad news, the world is on its' axis and one season follows another.  It seems like spring always takes awhile.

This is not the first pandemic and it will not be the last, even if it is the first one affecting most of us living on the planet.  We have recovered from market crashes before and life went on.  It is not the first time many of us felt like the world is crazy.  I feel that way every day.

Yesterday I watched a program about the Celtic Christians, beginning with St. Patrick and continuing for generations.  I found it actually comforting that it was in the midst of trials and tribulations that the Gospel was spread to Ireland and Scotland and back to England.  What would seem like a catastrophe to those living through it at the time would often result in God's work furthering His Kingdom.

That is what we are here for... to further His kingdom.  I've been pondering how we can do that during this pandemic and economic crisis and as I watched the documentary, I realized it was by standing fast in the midst of unwanted change to the cause of Christ.  We look to the ancient ways and the ancient words.

What an opportunity we face that rarely have those of us in the Western world since WWII been asked to do.  When the world seems to be falling apart, all we need to do is to be the voice of calm in the midst of the whirlwind.  It is not the time for us to fall apart but instead we are to find our peace in His Word and good books and good music (yes, even John Denver!) so that our soul and our spirit are filled with peace.  A peace much needed in today's world.

There is a spirit of fear (2nd Timothy 1:7) hovering over the world today and we have a chance to break it in our own little place on the planet.   How?  Turn off the news if you haven't already.  Read the Word, especially the Psalms.  Read good books.  Watch Persuasion, or Emma, or Casablanca, or The Lord of the Rings, or whatever stories take you away from it all.

The battle for peace is in our mind.  Fill yours with God's Truth and good things. Seek His Truth.  Check up on the elderly and the single mother and the disabled veteran and everyone else God has in your circle of influence that may need your help.  Oh, and continue to wash your hands.

You really have come into the Kingdom for such a time as this.

Image:  American Homestead/Winter


Anonymous said...

Brenda, thank you so much for this post of peace and trust. I really needed it this evening as, I have to admit, I was allowing the news to make me uptight and fearful. Your words were like a balm to my soul that have helped calm my heart. I need to keep turning to Him and His Word.



Cheri said...

We are self isolating. We watched an online sermon this morning and brainstormed how we could minister to others even though we are home bound.

We decided to send notes of encouragement to our pastoral staff as they will surely be stretched during this time. We also plan to call others who are staying put.

We could even provide groceries for some, if some kind soul would pick up and deliver to other home bound folks.

And pray. We can pray.

Linda said...

Well said!!!

Debbie Nolan said...

Brenda this is so beautiful...I am doing likewise...facing fear with faith. Hugs!

Vee said...

So glad that peace has descended. Beautiful thoughts you have shared today. The Lord is still, and forever shall be, our God and more than able and willing to make a way.

I am going to Wal*Mart this morning. I need a few things, yet if I don’t find them, I refuse to fret. Chocolate is actually high on my list. 😏

Deanna Rabe said...

I keep telling my kids that they are living in unprecedented times! We all are! However, for my girls especially, their lives are being greatly affected. Sarah's performing arts academy performance is cancelled, and likely won't be rescheduled. Rachel's bridal shower had to be moved to our home, and now we are looking at the likelyhood of change for the wedding also, as it is only 6 weeks away.

We are trusting that God knows, and we are leaving it all in his hands! In the meantime we read, watch movies, have a house guest until the end of the month. We're praying, and working and cooking, and hope that we can find tp when our supply runs out. God will provide!

Trish Clark said...

I love the Currier & Ives picture. Such a depiction of calm, hard work, perseverance and family homestead. Things that we worked and fought for. And when hard times came they continued doing what was in front of them to do ....this was their existence.
Firm believers in God and faithful to God and family. There for neighbors and people in need.
God always has something to teach us in times like these. I agree we need to be in the Word and be useful.
Thank you for the wisdom and encouragement.

Dawn E. Brown said...

Amen and Amen.Thank you for this,Blessings,Dawn E. Brown

Mandy Currie said...

Hello Brenda from a cold, crazy England, the world has gone crazy, well actually the people. They are fighting in the shops, someone even drew a knife the other day, this is ridiculous. We are just carrying on as normal and calm as possible. I really appreciated your post today, so thoughtful and true. Bless you for spreading the Word and for showing the way in trusting our Lord. God bless. Regards Mandy xx

Unknown said...

Brenda, you are a very good writer.