Some people are the “glass half empty” type. Others are “glass half full.” Me? I try to be happy that I have a glass at all. Even an empty glass has potential.
It’s easy to focus on the negatives in life. and all over Facebook. Negatives work to stick to us like burrs in a field. They try to weave into the very fabric of our hearts and minds.
We focus on things we can’t control and we obsess over stuff we cannot change. The only thing we can control is how we react to those things.
Life includes an abundance of hard things. We lose jobs, people we love pass away, accidents happen and sickness hits our frail, human shells. The sun shines on the good and the bad and times of rain come to each.
Sometimes the rain just keeps coming and it feels like it will never end. It can cause us to forget about the sunshine and even think it will never shine again. But, even in the rain there is beauty if we will look for it.
We went through a very, very rainy 18 months in our lives. I lost my health, I lost my income, we lost our house, our savings and our retirement fund. I lost my energy, needed a mobility chair and came to the point of wearing adult diapers. I even lost the hope of having the liver transplant I needed to survive when docs took me off the transplant list in March of 2012 saying I was “too weak to survive” the surgery.
It rained pain, it rained financial hardship, it rained embarrassment, it rained questions and it rained discomfort day after day after day.
But, one thing remained unchanged. We sing these words at our church,
“Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me …
On and on and on and on it goes
Yes it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
‘Cause this one thing remains… Your love never fails…”
~Jesus Culture, 2015
It was my faith that got me through those rainy times. I’m not talking about meaningless religious ritual. I’m talking about living, breathing faith that grew stronger the harder things got.
There was beauty in life even during those brutal times. I found beauty in my family, beauty in my awesome wife and beauty in so many of the people I met.
We’ve had a lot of real rain this Spring. The ground is saturated and rivers are running high. Gray skies have been the dominant theme and most people get into somewhat of a lethargic funk when that happens.
I decided I needed to find the beauty in the rain yesterday so I grabbed my camera and crawled around in the puddles a bit to photograph the flowers in our front garden. I was drawn to rain droplets that somehow made the flowers even more vibrant and beautiful. The rain that I was so tired of brought the incredible beauty in front of my lens.
Photographing droplets on flowers made me think of another favorite song we’ve heard in our church:
“All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change, at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground, at all?
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us”
I would not wish the storm we lived through on anyone. But now, I see so many beautiful things that came up from that ground. I’m thankful for changes in me and the depth of my faith. I’m thankful for all the people now in my life as a result.
I know more rain will fall. I know more hard times will come as part of life. I pray they are not as hard but, even if they are, I am confident that beauty will still be found whatever is ahead.
The old book I like to read says,
“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.” Luke 12:27-28
My life has taught me that that is Truth.
Look for the beauty today. It’s out there.
Reminds me of the Casting Crowns song, ‘Praise You In This Storm’ — thanks for being vulnerable in your sharing — God has definitely gifted you.