2 Corinthians 3:17

The Crazy and the Calm

It’s been a crazy week here, with the wildest wind storm I have ever witnessed in Virginia. This massive storm affected a vast stretch of the eastern seaboard, bringing damaging winds and coastal flooding.

Tree damage in Stafford, VA.

While our home doesn’t appear to have suffered any damage, others were not so fortunate. This photo is one of hundreds I found depicting wind damage around Virginia. I read that the tree came down in the bedroom of a 4-year old boy who was playing in the basement at the time and is unharmed. How grateful this family must be!

Thousands of people in the storm’s path are still without power, including our relatives in Massachusetts. Many will be without electricity into the coming week as the storm cleanup continues.

My part of the crazy was coming down with a cold and fever in the middle of the storm, ending in laryngitis. I missed singing with my choir family today, but I am giving gratitude that the Holy Spirit filled our Lenten worship, even without my squeaky voice 😉.

All this served as a reminder of how unpredictable life can be, and that every storm can teach us about what is truly important. During this season of Lent, I have been mindful of God’s presence each day, even in the midst of crazy. In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus shows not only that he has the ability to calm the storm, but he also slept through the storm:

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Growing up with the Atlantic Ocean in my back yard, storms were part of my everyday life. We prepared as best we could, hunkered down and rode them out. I slept through many of them too.

Throughout life, I have learned that it is easy to panic when the seas begin to swell. But it is far better to have faith enough to trust that God will equip us and then calm the storm. Only by faith can we begin to learn how to weather the storms in life.

My childhood back yard in Ocean Bluff, MA

 

2 Corinthians 3:17

Building a Home

It’s been almost 20 years since we moved from Massachusetts to Virginia and into the place we now call home. This was the first time our family ever lived in a brand new house. We watched it being built, from a hole in the ground to move-in day when we were handed the keys.

It was a far cry from the 110-year-old Victorian we left behind with all its character and charm. Also left behind were the memories of the blood, sweat and tears it took to rehab almost every room. We were weekend warriors back then, investing every moment and every dime in our home.

As we begin looking toward retirement, we are now planning our next home . . . where it might be, and what it might look like. For once we can dare to dream about life outside the boundaries of work, and living each day according to our own plans. What an amazing concept!

Memories of past, present and future homes have occupied my thoughts recently. But this past week I had to add a new item to my growing requirements for our next destination: close proximity to a quality medical center. My mom fell and broke her hip on Friday and I was so grateful that she is living nearby, and no longer in a remote town in southwestern Maine. She was able to reach the hospital quickly and had hip replacement surgery on the same day. Two days and many prayers later, she is back home and will be receiving home health care during her recovery.

Amidst the chaos of the past two days, I was captivated by another home being built, this time in our own back yard. A tiny pair of White-breasted Nuthatches began building a nest in an abandoned birdhouse. I stood at the kitchen window, binoculars in hand, and watched one of the birds trying to fit a long piece of bark through the hole. It turned the bark one way and then the other. It hung upside down on the perch and tried again. It was almost painful to watch and I was literally cheering the little bird on. “You can do it! Don’t give up!” This went on for several minutes before it flew to the ground, dropped the bark and went searching for another piece.

These little birds are on a strict timeline to get their nest ready for their young. There are no blueprints to follow, contractors to call or building inspectors to wait on — only God’s plan which was designed specifically for them. And they will toil without complaint until it is done, one piece of bark at a time.

As for me, I am grateful for each house I have lived in, and the memories I will carry with me from one to the next. But I know in my heart that nothing can possibly compare to the majestic and magnificent place that will be my forever home.