Sunday, October 5, 2008

Without the sonlight

Today was supposed to be sunny and cool. The forecasters got the cool part right (47 degrees when I woke up - gah!), but it was completely overcast and a bit damp. There's something about that kind of gray, drizzly weather that gives me the urge to go to the ocean. I want to bundle up and head to the beach in one of my favorite New England harbor towns. I daydream about sitting by a fireplace in some cozy seaside restaurant with a steaming cup of soup while watching the stormy waves crash onto the sand.

But the mist and chill in the air were fine for apple-picking so we headed to my dad's as planned.

Along the way, I noticed that all the trees that have been so incredibly vibrant in autumn color weren't quite as impressive. The colors that have been taking my breath away were muted and less inspiring because of the gray clouds. Without the sun to highlight the leaves and without the blue sky as a backdrop, the beauty was harder to see.

And, I realized that the same is true for my life in general. Without the Son in my life, I'm less able to see beauty around me, especially in other people. It seems that no matter how hard I try, I have this gray film over my eyes that makes me always find the negative, that makes me cynical and impatient and unkind - if not out loud, then in my thoughts.

But when I draw close to the Son and let Him shine in my heart more, that film begins to be lifted. I can begin to see what He sees in other people - the beauty, the potential. And, I begin to have a heart more like His. I'm less inclined to think the worst of people and more inclined to think the best of someone and to pray for people who I would normally just grumble about (like the grouchy woman at the grocery store yesterday who snarled at me and R...). :-)

He has also made me more hopeful about myself. I can see the potential beauty in me, and I'm better able to hear Him pointing out to me the areas I need to work on and give up to Him. Lately, God has been saying, "Here, here, and here" to me, lovingly and gently showing me where that film is still covering my eyes and my heart. I feel like I should get a t-shirt made that reads, "Under Reconstruction." I'm so thankful for this construction work and for being able to see more and more beauty within and without every day. (You should be thankful for this construction work, too, because I asked God for guidance in writing this post and He wisely had me delete an unbelievably corny sentence that would have ended with "let the Sonshine in" - with no disrespect to The Fifth Dimension, of course.)

Lest I make it sound like there's a halo over my head and bluebirds landing on my shoulders wherever I go, however, I am very aware that I am and always will be a work in progress. One of the many things that God has been talking to me about is holding my tongue, which you'd think would be easy for someone as quiet as me. But I'm a very critical person, and of course the people I love take the brunt of this fault of mine. So, while I was typing this testimony of how God is working in my life and helping me to be more like Him, I was fighting the urge to say something rude and to shove a tissue box at A, who was sniffing constantly and driving me bonkers. And, while I managed to hold my tongue in this case (with God's help, of course), He proceeded to point out that rolling my eyes has got to go, too. ;-)


p.s. May God grant me the ability to one day take a non-blurry, in-focus picture. :-)

6 comments:

Suztash said...

Kristen,
I'm so proud of you for the wonderful young woman you have become...so open, like a flower to the Holy Spirit...so willing to be led, taught, shaped by God's loving hand! There's a wonderful song I just love by Travis Cottrel, the worship leader for Beth Moore's seminars. It's The Power of Your Love. It's all about God's love changing us. I'll try to get the cd to you. Love you.

sandwhichisthere said...

Sweetheart,
you are having trouble seeing the sunshine because it is not shining on you, it is emanating from you. You bring warmth and happiness to all around you. Just the presence of your warmth and your joy of living banish the grey quiet desperation that dominates most lives.
I was pleased to read of your time that cries for a day at the beach. I feel the same way about a damp cool day. Let me tell you of one of my most pleasant memories.
It was a cool foggy day and I was sitting with your Mother in a very small lunch place in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. It was on a dock overlooking the water. I was beaming because I had just recently met your Mother and was filled with the joy that comes when love is new. We were eating soup and the original Mr. Bojangles, the one where the old man speaks at the beginning, was playing on the juke box. Simple pleasures, a cool grey day, watching the ocean, good hot soup, good music, and a full heart. There is no list of ingredients for happiness, it just happens sometimes.
Thomas Merton once said that we are placed on Earth to learn to tolerate the intensity of God's love so we can bear it if we get to heaven. It must be satisfying for God to feel that love coming back from you. It is for the rest of us around you,
daddy

Greg C said...

I am so happy you are doing so much. I am trying to change myself too as an example to my kids.

Martha said...

"Without the sun to highlight the leaves and without the blue sky as a backdrop, the beauty was harder to see.... Without the Son in my life, I'm less able to see beauty around me, especially in other people."

Yes, you are absolutely right. This is something I must remember next time I feel like grumbling or doing saying unkind. :)

Kansas Bob said...

Nice story Kristen.. I think that we are all "Under Reconstruction."

LEstes65 said...

I second your dad's sentiment that it shines from you. You, of course see this less than those of us around you. But know that God's light shines out of you and onto me. You have been one of the pillars of His support for me through these last couple of years. And well before that. But recently, God got you and me on the same path. Pretty cool to travel it with you, my dear.

As for your criticalosity, it is probably much worse in your head than you ever let out to most of us. I'm sure those closest to you might feel differently. But what I have so often heard from you is the half-full version of the cup. You have helped me see the silver lining more often than pointing out the poo.

You are gracious and loving and completely fallible. And that last part is why I feel so comfortable around you. If you had a halo on ALL the time, I wouldn't feel worthy. But since you never pretend to be anything but human, I know I'm safe with you as my friend.

I love you. I love this post, too. You are brave in your honesty. Holding youself accountable in the printed word. Sharing it with us. Thank you.

Smooches...