It’s always nice to know that as I walk along the sidewalk which runs parallel to normal, that there are things that make me smile. There are things that remind me of the joy of life. There are things that pull me out of ‘me’ and pull me back onto the ‘normal’ sidewalk.
To say that I doubt my faith or that I am lacking in faith would not be accurate at this juncture of my life. However, my soul feels distant somehow. I don’t think I have any less faith or a meeker faith – but it just feels farther away somehow – not quite my norm. I don’t know how to describe it because I don’t want people all concerned or distressed about my faith life – I just want to share that right now – it feels… maybe it is like I am getting a hug from my nephew. He wants to hug me. He loves me. He just can’t quite get his arms to encircle me fully. His hands stay clenched and he kinda tap taps me. I know he is there. I know he cares. But he just isn’t fully embracing me. And I can’t even explain whether it is me who is not embracing faith (God) or if I don’t feel faith (God) isn’t fully embracing me. Not sure. So I will sit in that space for a bit – feeling the love and feeling the embrace just not fully experiencing it.
So saying that, there are things that bring that embrace in tighter. Days where I feel much more wrapped up in normal.
The other evening all my kids were home and all their significant others and we played a game together. There was joy in this. I admit that there are times during games where I feel some anxiety – when the competitive streaks start to rise and some heat enters the discussions – but I revel in the knowledge that these are my children and that very drive and heat have carried them through some challenging things and will continue to help them on those side sidewalks of life!
Then there is the plant. A little plant that was gifted to me by a lovely man in the FGMB congregation and a long-time friend of our family. When I rec’d it I was moved by the generosity and the beauty of this plant. I was also thinking, ‘well, better enjoy it while you can, Tam, because you will have it dead and buried shortly!’ The botanist in me is – who am I kidding – there is not a botanist even close to me!! (An agronomist is related to me but his skills did not come from me!) So I enjoyed this beautiful plant with the mini pink flowers for as long as I could until, as in Beauty and the Beast, the last petal fell onto my desk. I then moved it to the window seat and tried to keep it alive by watering it each week. However, slowly, the leaves lost their luster and I had to cut one branch out. Oh well, it lasted way longer than it should have. In the meantime, I had another plant on the windowsill that had bugs and I really didn’t want to start spraying pesticide in the church – somehow felt wrong! So I looked for home brews (and after I had a beer…) and found that Epsom salts are supposed to help AND be good for the soil too.
I had Epsom salts at home – enjoy soaking in a bath with them – so I grabbed a sandwich bag and threw a cupful into it (I decided against the lavender or eucalyptus scented ones – didn’t think the plants would enjoy those as much as I did!). I added a tbsp. to my bug plant and then thought, what the heck, and added a tbsp. to each of the other plants I have by the window.
Well I don’t know if that was the ticket or not, but within a week my little pink flowering plant was budding and new flowers slowly emerged! My beast turned into my beauty once again. You don’t even need me to tie the analogy in here!!!
My last ‘favourite thing’ that brought me to normal was last night’s sky. We had supper with some of Bernie’s siblings last night at BP. It was good to see them – some I haven’t seen for years! So after some dining and visiting, I headed to McNally to use up a gift card (there is NOTHING like being able to buy books and not feel guilty about it!! However, there is a lot of pressure to buy books that I will like so that I don’t feel like I wasted my gift card. I told Bernie I wouldn’t be very long. I literally (and you can go off on a literal/figurative tangent here) said, “How long can it take to spend $50 at a bookstore? I’ll be home soon.” Two hours later…
Anyway. I left the bookstore and up in the sky was this amazing moon with this amazing star shining beside it. Researching it today realized it was Venus. But it was just beautiful and inspiring and really there was nothing normal about it! But it brought those arms around a little tighter. That moon. That planet. That vastness. That light that travels from ions away to brighten my life. To know that in Africa, at a different juncture in time, they could see that same moon and that same planet (let’s not get all technical about exact alignment, etc.) was awe inspiring. I found a picture of the Canadian view online (right) and found a picture of it in Africa (left) taken two days earlier.
To know that I have a God who is so big and so amazing that He put the moon and planets and stars in perfect alignment with earth and the sun AND at the same time He gently opens the petals of a pink flower on my desk AND He reminds me of my incredible family as we play a game that He gave someone the brains to make. To know that, to believe that – then faith wraps a little tighter – then I wrap around faith a little snugger and we journey on the sidewalk next to normal – hopscotching back and forth, picking up nuggets of joy as we go.
Psalm 139 from The Message (MSG)
139 1-6 God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!
7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you