This article came about because I got smacked. Not just a tap, but a body shaking smack.
I am tired. I am exhausted, maybe even a little overwhelmed. Life is not supposed to be like this. I recently officiated a graveside for a precious child who was with us for just a short time. So hard and you ask why? I am tired of people yelling at each other and being rude to each other. Whatever happened to respect? Patience? Care? Compassion?
Kindness? Why is there so much hatred? People are so lonely, that is something we are seeing a lot of. Folks are finding out that they are more social than they thought they were. People need contact with people that are outside the home. We must be honest; we are a social people! Hugs, handshakes, face to face conversations – that is who we are. I know it is a frustrating time but remember there is always hope. There is always hope.
I remember this excerpt from Soul Fuel: “How difficult our situations may be – however much trouble we are facing in life – there can always be hope. Hope transcends everything: every pain, sorrow, fear, and loss. Hope is what sets us apart as children of God. Hope is the light to the dark, the comfort to the pain. Hope comes from knowing God’s love for you. We might not feel very hopeful of anything, but His hope is out there – close. Just look for it. Trust it. Even a tiny glimmer is enough. Great fires are started from tiny embers. Just hold on and look up. Hope through the pain and through the doubts. Have faith and know that faith and doubt are simply two sides of the same coin. You will have many doubts. Do not worry. Accept them and know that faith must be close by. Whatever we face, He faces it beside us. He will never desert us. ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)’ Take heart! All will be well. (Bear Grylls)
I was up on the farm, baiting for bear, checking the back of the farm, going down a path and across the path there was a small sapling. Instead of moving it out of the way, I gunned the UTV and as I went by that sapling came back and smacked me hard, knocking my glasses loose and my hat off. I stopped and sat there for a moment and collected my wits. Nothing broken, hurting a little bit and then started feeling sorry for myself. Why me? When was life going to get better? The world is in a rut and so am I, boohoo… About this time, I noticed a squirrel sitting on a stump, staring at me and eating something. So, I started talking, yes talking, to the squirrel (I am ok, I really am ok). I was telling the squirrel how it had it made, being able to play in the woods all day, sleeping in a comfortable, hollowed out tree, eating whatever it wanted to do, nothing to do but play and eat. But then I thought about cold winters, and they too were quarantined during the winter (staying in their tree where they had food stored). Then I thought of coyotes, and hawks, and eagles, and wolves, and hunters and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Well, maybe that squirrel did not have a perfect world after all. Maybe today I could make its day special. I went to the back of the UTV, got a circus peanut out of the pail (baiting bear, remember) and walked over to the stump and laid the circus peanut on it. The squirrel had run away but I went back to the UTV and in a few minutes it was back, curious. It did not take long, and the squirrel sniffed it, picked it up and took a bite and as it ran away, I swear it smiled at me! Suddenly, the world was good again! That had made my day!
Sometimes, getting smacked helps. It makes you get focused. Not the physical type but something that makes you stop and think and reflect on what is going on and you realize that life is not so bad and that there is hope – there is always hope.
I thought about that precious child. He may have been on earth only a short time, but he only knew love. How many of us can say that? The other day I was refereeing back to back Flag Football games and I tell you, those kids were having fun (I was too)! One boy caught a pass and ran for a touchdown and started dancing! He yelled that that was the first touchdown he ever scored and was wondering if he could keep the football. He was so excited and got us all laughing, and you know what, we quickly forgot about the cares of the world. In the other game, the team scored a touchdown, and they were yelling and jumping and dancing and I told them they sure get excited about a touchdown (they were down 28-0). “Pastor, you don’t understand! That’s the first touchdown we have scored ALLLLL year!” My thought was, at first, you are down 28-0 and you are celebrating? But after it was explained, I celebrated too! It is all about perspective. You would not have known there was a pandemic. They were focusing on what was before them, being outside and having some fun. What are we focusing on?
I think we need to stop occasionally, step back and reflect and examine what is going on around us. I know there will be a glimmer. Breathe! Do not wait to get smacked. And who knows, maybe you will even have a squirrel wink at you.
God bless and God’s got this!