The truth is that I would prefer to choose where I was planted rather than where I bloomed. But life’s not wrapped up with a shiny bow like that! In fact, many aspects of life are not chosen. We don’t get to select our parents, our skin color or place of birth. Things which turn out to be pretty significant in life.
However, we do get to choose our responses. Free will is one of the greatest blessings or curses depending on how you look at it. As 2017 has already started emerging on the planet, we stand at a new threshold. 2016 has revealed some of the ugliest underpinnings of the human experience both domestically and abroad. A New Year presents new opportunities to make new choices. We can’t always choose where we’re planted, but we can make a decision to bloom anyway.
A prayer for 2017
When life requires bold strokes,
May we meet the threshold with
Courage and Bravery.
When tensions rise and tempers flare,
May the power of Grace + Peace
Put out the flames.
May we rise to unite
When division threatens to undo us
And may we re-find our voice
And blend the hot tremors of our harshest tenors
To speak with each other again.
They say that one should avoid watching the making of a sausage. Because the likelihood of eating one after watching the process may be affected. First of all, sausage meat is rarely culled from the best cuts and is usually comprised of a variety of cuts, and/or different types of meats.
The end process has a way of completely obscuring the origins of the meat and in a sense transforms it into something other than what any single component would have revealed it capable of becoming. It’s the grinding process and then the mixed seasoning which makes sausage meat what it is.
Life sometimes feel a little akin to sausage making. There are days which are so grueling, that feeling like one has been processed through a meat grinder might be a kind descriptive. There are many examples in the Bible which depict challenging periods in poignant ways. A story which frankly I have always found difficult to read is the book of Job which chronicles the misfortunes of a man that are so painful that his wife urges him to curse God and die.
Job’s journey, a mixture of good & bad, light and awful darkeness are detailed through the loss of property, family, health, influence, community, stature amidst serious questions about the nature of God. Thrown into the mix are friends who are well meaning but lack true understanding, thus inadvertently inflaming the rawness of an open wound.
It’s difficult to really understand or imagine what must have been going on in Job’s mind. But, even problems on a much lower scale can drain the reservoirs of strength and vitality. Sausage making in real life or spiritually is not pretty or easy. I don’t know how the Creator and Sustainer of Life, our Father God is able to make something out of life’s messy bits & pieces. And, during the dark night of the soul it’s not certain that anything of value can be created. There is usually not a neat and orderly timeline, but somehow He who IS…does.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
It’s an odd thing isn’t it -the idea of becoming strong by being willing to be weak? Laying down the defenses and weapons which we wield with a temerity that can border on madness in order that the strength of God may be made manifest within our weakness. The reality that God’s strength perfects itself within weakness remains a mystery which defies rational explanation. One discovers that within the humility of vulnerability lies a core strength that is supple, bendable, flexible and able to withstand enormous strain.