You know life has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. You are going along thinking all is well and then WHAM! Out of the blue comes the unexpected. Whether it is a sickness, a death, a job loss, children or the loss of, breakdown or break up of a marriage or relationship, or even teenagers, these things comes without warning and after you endure their ravages to yourself and your family, you are never, ever, the same.
Sometimes it is quick, sometimes it seems to last forever, but when it is over, you are left standing there alone, desolate, sometimes desperate, emotionally and physically and even spiritually drained and always feeling alone.
Those feelings like to make us feel like we are no longer part of society – that we do not belong, because no one will understand anyways. We wonder how life can just roll along without us, “don’t people know or care? How can they possibly just keep living like normal?!”
No matter who we are – at some time in our lives we have had to experience devastation of some kind. Were we up to the test? Did we make it through to the other side? Or did we get derailed for a while or even for forever? No two people can experience something and react the same way. Isn’t that just like life – and God – to create uniqueness even in something that can seem so brutal……
It reminds me of a scene I saw when we went back to my home town in the Okanagan. We drove into town, where the economy thrived on it’s forestry and beautiful lush treed mountains. But this time, it was different. The area had been hit with a forest fire in the few years that we had been away. It had suffered a blow, the lush green treed mountains were now, barren and sorrowful and a blatant reminder that a tragedy had struck here.
Tall, blackened sticks stood where once a forest had been. These sticks were now lifeless, just standing there on the hillside looking lost and helpless. Nothing grew on those sticks, nothing seemed to grow on the whole mountain.
But then God got my attention, just when I was about to look away because it was too hard to look at my beloved mountains, robbed of their majesty – God caused my eye to catch on a small speck of color. Underneath the blackened sticks just off the ground was little flowers growing in between the charred masses. Fireweed.
God had placed a burst of color amid the land of the dead and it was then that I got this analogy for my life.
In my life I have suffered tragedy. While the details are not all that important what is important was that it destroyed my life as it was. It came through my life with such intenseness and heat that I feared I would not survive it, and often I prayed I would not as the pain got too intense to bear. I felt like I was alone, I felt no one would or could understand, I felt betrayed by people, by God and even by myself. I wondered if God knew what had happened for surely, surely this could not be His plan for me, His daughter. There was nothing “normal” in my life, nor would life ever be “normal” again and perhaps if God just knew about it, He would explain, He would fix it – He would be my knight in shining armor and at any moment, He would show up and right the world.
As I starred at those blacked sticks, standing lonely on the hillside of those mountains, I felt they were my picture of my life.....
Read Part 2 of Fireweed May 11.