Tonight, as I sat on my back porch, and the rain fell lightly, I reflected on recent difficulties. My husband have been in a waiting period for a while, trying to determine plans for the future. It looks as if this period may be over soon, and so I began to contemplate whether I have made the most of this hard place, this valley:
Are there gifts I have missed in this time because of my own grumbling and bad attitude, my wallowing in sorrow?
Has my belief in a faithful God been tested, and have I taken the opportunity to reflect on my beliefs about God, growing and seeking new truths?
Do I believe that God is ultimately working through all of this?
Have I learned to be fully present wherever I am- regardless of the future?
Have I learned to be more open to God? To love God through it all? To let go, give up, surrendering my own plans and ideas of what should be and how my life should go?
Have I learned that it’s not necessarily about where we are, but how we are loving and investing wherever we are?
Am I thankful- for the in-betweens, the hard places, the valleys? Because isn’t that where God is often found anyway? When we are pinched, squeezed, stuck, and hard-pressed? Do I believe that we are “persecuted but not abandoned,” as Paul said (2 Corinthians 4:9)?
And when the hard times have passed, do I believe that green sprigs, blossoming flowers, that hope will emerge?
How often have I opened my eyes- seen and felt the beauty of these questions during hard times?
Do I believe that something good is happening when I can’t see it, even when the change is just inside of me?
I think I do.
As I sat on my back porch in the city, the rain slowed, then ceased. The last of the day’s sunshine peaked out timidly. The birds resumed their chirping, a flurry of flapping wings, from telephone poll, to tree, to roof. Everything, even our small backyard patch of grass looks greener and brighter. The lilacs are beginning to bloom, the small cherry tree in our neighbor’s yard is changing from tiny pink buds to fragile white blossoms.
And I know I believe.