Three geese white like sugar honk their early morning song a few doors down. Roosters, who as my dad would say are short a doodle in their do, are cock-a-doing in haphazard unison. The sun is kissing the mountain tops in a display of sherbert splendor. It's a new day, in a new home and I find myself bathed in thankfulness AND soaked in sadness, like vinegar and oil mixed together on a lovely salad.
-There is MUCH to be thankful to the Lord for - too many things to count and yet sometimes I'm like a toddler with an empty Easter basket staring at a lawn full of not-so-hidden eggs with nothing in my basket. How can I NOT see ALL the pastel eggs perched atop the grass in full visibility? How can I NOT call out all of the blessings that are blatantly in my path? I'm guilty of staring into my "empty" basket when blessings are literally ALL around me, waiting for me to recognize them for what they are AND grab a hold of them. This is a sad confession that leads me to the desire to do better at not only seeing the blessings right in front of me, but also for giving thanks for them out loud to the One who gives them. Cultivating a thankful heart full of gratitude is a daily decision to really say thank you for the obvious: waking up, having a roof over your head, for your family, such as they are - such as you are, for the mountains and sunlight and honking geese that all point to a very creative and magnificent God. Who am I that He should care for me? Yet He does so very personally and spectacularly.
The mixing of seemingly contradictory emotions can be tricky to navigate. Does my sadness negate my thankfulness? No, it just nods at the recognition of a loss while at the same time seeing the egg in the grass that's waiting to be snatched and put into my basket. So the mingling of multiple emotions has been the whirlwind of my life, more so in the last 6 months than another time that I can remember. We sent a daughter to school in another country (sadness), and she gets to go to an amazing school that the Lord provided for and have a whole new set of experiences in a new place that will challenge, grow and change her (thankfulness, happiness). She is apart from us for the first time this Thanksgiving (sadness), but she has a new friend from school who invited her to her home to have Thanksgiving with her family (thankfulness!) We abruptly had to move from a community we loved (sadness), but we are in a great home with a yard and space to spread out (thankfulness, happiness.) Vinegar and oil together enhance the flavor of life.
So, in this tossed salad of emotions that I sometimes have found myself drowning in, I'm reminded that it is ok to lament a loss, and that I need to stay in a state of thankfulness while I grieve. I'm not a mess, I'm human. I can cry AND rejoice. Today, I am thankful for all of the ingredients in the tossed salad :)
How do you handle a mixture of emotions?
Our family was physically moved recently, plucked from our cozy apartment community where we'd lived for 5 years since moving back to Jarabacoa. The sound of the river lapping the boulders in its juicy path was our lullaby at night. We had a clear view of amazing sunsets, and neighbors that became family. We NEVER planned on moving from there. Yet, we aren't always in as much control as we think. We can't control circumstances, but we can control our response. (I'll be the first to admit my gut level response is not always kind or pretty. Imagine Jon shaking his head in agreement here. He's usually the one that sees and hears my yuck.)
The process of moving was painful. The tearing away. The selling. The purging. We didn't move far but a move is a move. You still have to look all of your junk in the eye and ask yourself why in the world you hold onto the things you hold onto? There was much that didn't "spark joy," and yet my fists had been clenched for some reason. With every item that was tossed I was a little more free. Why do we keep ourselves tied up so with things that don't matter?
One of the blessings of moving was the help that we received from our community. They are a bunch of troopers and took car/truck loads of stuff to our new place, fed us dinner multiple times and helped us clean so that we could leave our much-loved apartment in good condition. Thank you, Lord, for friends who show up and love so well!
I generally tend to be a hanger-on-er. To stuff. To the familiar. To an idea. To comfort. I didn't want to leave where we were, but I love where we are now. Sometimes I fight to stay when I really need to go. Sometimes I let go of the things I need to hold onto. How I desire to be on the Godly side of both of those - to fight for the things worth fighting for, to release my grip on the things that need to be let go of. The struggle is REAL. Lord, help me nest close to you, wherever that is.
When was the last time you were moved? Moved in your spirit, moved in your physical location, moved from one way of thinking to another? Moved to forgive? Moved to let go? Moved to trust more? Moved to be vulnerable? Moved when you wanted to stay? How did you respond?
Psalm 84:3-5 "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young, a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you."