I wrote this post awhile back and saved it for “a rainy day” – It’s not raining outside right now, but we all deal with our own “rain”…and “personal autumns”. Spring will come again. May you be blessed. Peace.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. -Mother Teresa
Cleaning out and organizing always makes me feel better.
Today, though, I have mixed emotions. Of course, we’ve sorted through the “usual”: junk-mail, school papers, kid’s drawings, magazines, photographs and greeting cards.
It’s the last two that have been difficult, for me, today. It’s the container of stuff from Byron’s anniversary as Pastor – from two years ago – that’s hard. It contained photos that I had collected for a possible slide-show to honor him, and a huge stack of cards from the congregation. I didn’t read the cards…because I know what they all say: “We love you”, “You’re the best Pastor ever!”, things like that. And the photos are the same: a choir loft full of smiling faces, laughing at some witty, pastoral thing Byron has said.
Things change. People change, too. It’s the way life is.
So, we just threw them out. We threw them away rather than having them around to distract us – to discourage us from the way things must be for us now. The praise from the masses is not there anymore, the affirmation from the usual church-types has all but disappeared. But there are still encouragements to continue, we just have to look harder for them. Every face, every life, every heart that is heavy and thinks there’s nowhere for someone like them…no church that will let them in – These are our reasons, and because we can do no less than what Christ gave his life to do: “To seek and save what is lost”.
So, I didn’t throw those cards, letters, and photos away out of bitterness or anger, but because those are temporal forms of flattery that blow away with the wind of change. And I know that just like all of those people who meant well, at the time, I’ve changed too. I used to thrive on such nods of approval – it kind of comes with the territory when you are a pastor’s daughter turned pastor’s wife. Of course, I still like to be liked, but that is tempered with the understanding that there will always be those who “mean well” but will, like their flattering words, blow away with the winds of change.
It’s the way of life. The winds of change blow away what is not grounded and healthy, so that new life can emerge…like the leaves of a maple in late October. And if this metamorphosis never took place, the tree would die – plus, we would miss the breathtaking beauty of Autumn. So, I’ll try to keep my personal “autumn” in perspective, knowing that the new leaves will be healthy and strong, and they’ll appear after the wintertime is over. The tree may look bare and empty during the blizzard…but springtime will come again.
Tomorrow is Sunday, and it will not look anything like it did two years ago. My heart could break over that, but I choose to only let it truly break over the lostness of so many around me, the hundreds/thousands who still haven’t heard the “good news”, and the apathy of those who call themselves Christians but never think to love others more than themselves and their own comfort. I’ll choose to only let what breaks the heart of God, break mine…no matter how tempted I am to feel sad or betrayed, personally. And I’ll choose to forgive because I’ve been forgiven for these things and many more.