Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Singin' in the Rain

Most people get depressed when it rains, especially in SoCal. But I have to say that when I woke to showers this morning, complete with thunder and lightning, I couldn't have been more pleased. Each of the four seasons has its own beauty to offer, but autumn just brings me the most joy. The air cools down, the house warms up and things seem a bit more peaceful.

I can remember being a kid and itching for summer vacation. It was hot everyday and I would spend weeks at a time at my grandparents' house, swimming in their backyard pool. And with no homework and no place to be, summer seemed to last forever. But, appropriately enough, as the seasons of my life have changed, I've grown to love the passing of summer into fall. It's definitely not the rain I love (just ask anyone else with naturally curly hair). It's more of a cozy, curling up in your favorite chair kind of feeling.

Summer is sunny yellows, ocean splashes and plump fruit juicy-ness. Winter is icy blues and frosty smiles. Spring is fresh greens, new growth and rebirth. To me, fall is the start of it all...warm reds and crunchy browns, being welcomed inside to spicy aromas, friendly tricks and back-to-school treats. After seeking adventure and excitement in the summer sun, fall lets you get back to your roots.

Jon and I got married on the first day of fall, September 22nd, 2000. Perhaps that's why I experience fall as a beginning and not an end. Two days from now will mark the 5th anniversary of the day we began this amazing journey together. The foundations of our love go back much further, but that first autumn day marks the beginning of our true union and commitment to family and future.

This year I find myself giddy with thoughts of taking Isaiah to the pumpkin patch and watching him (inevitably toddling) around the Thanksgiving table. We'll celebrate his first birthday this fall and marvel at the amazing grace and goodness that created him and chose us to be his parents.

Snuggle up, everybody. It's just around the corner.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hope Floats

It may look as though I've been ignoring Hurricane Katrina and its devastation. I haven't written about it, and I really haven't talked much about it either. Mainly I think I'm still processing my feelings. It's impossible to ignore something this huge. It's impossible not to stop and think "What if that were me?" "What if I were separated from my husband?" "What if it was my child that died?" That's a lot to take in. My words of sympathy and concern really can't compare to the images of destruction that we've all seen over the past two weeks. But for what it's worth, I do care, I am saddened and I pray for the thousands of people who will start their lives all over again.

And then tonight, my family and I settled in to watch the inevitable celebrity benefit concert. I'm thankful that they do their part (as they should) and I know they will raise some much needed funding to help those in need. But as I watched, I couldn't help questioning the message. Something just didn't match up. I wondered how am I supposed to explain this type of thing to my son as he gets older?

"You see, Isaiah, it's not okay to have the name of God engraved on any public buildings. It's against the law to talk to Him when you're in school. You really don't have any right to talk openly about your belief in God because somehow just the mere mention of that belief infringes on the rights of others to not believe. In fact, it's best if you just cut God out of every aspect of your life completely. Until, of course, something bad happens. When there's tragedy or disaster, that's when you should call on God and expect Him to be there. Even after you've ignored Him and cursed His name every step of the way, you should expect His prompt attention to your need."

I can't count the number of times I've heard people say that they don't go to church and they can't stand Christianity because of the hypocrisy. But who's the real hypocrite here? If we treated anyone else in our lives with the disdain and anger that we point at God, we wouldn't dare expect them to turn around and help us. Why is it different with God?

What I want my son to know about God is what the bible teaches. He is love. He is forgiveness. There is nothing that can ever separate us from Him except our own choice. He wants what's best for us and He's willing to give it as long as we're willing to let go of what we think is best for ourselves. It's really quite simple.

In the midst of all the news reports about how slowly our country responded to the victims of the hurricane, there are plenty of unreported stories about neighbors helping neighbors and people sacrificing of themselves to help their fellow man. These are the stories of hope. These are examples of people who recognize grace in their lives. These are the stories that exemplify God's love by sharing it. And because hope, grace and love are things that, by nature, point to God, these are the stories you'll never hear.

Thankfully, I don't have to teach my child according to the media. Because I know God through a personal relationship, I can tell my son about all that He's done in my life. I can say with confidence that He was there in New Orleans when the hurricane hit, and He's still there now. Those who know Him know that faith and hope cannot be drowned, even in the tallest of hurricane waters. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Thanks for listening.