Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Christmas Eve Reflection


Dear Christa—
I’m glad that I’m married to a generous man. So was my mother. I remember her saying once that she was glad that she’d been married to a generous man even if he would bring home “any old drunk to sleep on the couch” in his younger days.
At Walmart on Christmas Eve, Callie and I were perusing the beads when a woman approached Jay about needing money. I don’t know what she said, but I heard Jay’s voice, “If you’re hungry, I’ll buy you a meal.” Then, off they headed toward the Subway near the front of the store with 5-year-old Elliott skipping next to him.
I think it’s easier to be generous these days than when we first began teaching in a Christian school with four little children of our own; although, I did hear once that the most generous people, compared to what they make, are the working poor. I don’t think we were that generous though.
Maybe it was because my mother paid the bills when I was growing up or it was a way to relieve Jay of one more thing to do during the years that he worked so many hours so that I could stay home with the babies, but I’ve always handled our finances, though “handling our finances” mostly has meant making sure the monthly bills get paid.
But, there was a time—many years back—that I began to think that I should not be quite so calculating when it came to special offerings. Jay always would say, “What do you think we can give?” and I would respond with an answer. So, instead, I began to respond with “whatever you think.” It has been interesting that most of the time he says exactly what I would have said, but on occasion, I’ve been a little taken aback, but I’ve always just written the check. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t that we give away loads of money; we’re very much like everyone else. It was just a perspective shift.
I want to be a generous person. For me, I think being generous is tied into being grateful. We have so much more than what I ever thought we would. And, I’m glad that I’m married to a generous man.
As Elliott and I stood in line to purchase our beads, a box of Texas grapefruit, and various other things we’d tossed in the cart, I said to her: “Did you and grandpa buy that lady some food?” And she replied in her very dramatic Elliott way: “Yes, she was REALLY, REALLY hungry, so we just buy her some food…I’m really hungry too.”

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Perception, or Not


Dear Christa—
I’ve been reading through the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament, and some of those books give fantastic accounts of otherworldly creatures busy about their business here on earth. Honestly, some of it I don’t get at all, but one thing is apparent: there’s a lot going on out there that we don’t see.
At times that’s kind of unsettling to me—that there are likely angelic beings inhabiting space that I’m in that I can’t perceive. Imagine an entire world dramatically alive yet silent to our ears.
And, at times in a way it can only seem like magic when that spiritual world intersects with ours and influences the very place we live.
So, it was just such a time when God, very God, stepped out of the invisible and planted himself in the tiny essence of life, cloaked in humanity’s frame. It’s amazing to think about. But, mostly it’s too easy to regard the incarnation as simply the birth of a baby and to miss the perception that this was not an ordinary child.
I wonder how Mary and Joseph gazed at him that night. New parents always inspect every little inch of that newborn, but surely they were looking for something more, something a little different. As they stared intently at the child, were they looking for…God? Were they looking for something that indicated He was who He is?
Did it surprise them that he simply looked like a baby? And since he just looked so normal, I guess they just swaddled him up and took care of him. And, as days and weeks of caring turned into years, perhaps at times it became hard to perceive that this person was not of this world at all.
And so too, I suppose, we look at a baby in a manger and all we see is a baby; sometimes we see with no perception at all.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Time Is a Gift


Dear Christa—
As we navigated through snow-packed roads and up the hill to deliver Carol’s first grade granddaughter (who, by the way, entertained us with her chatter all the way), we were certain of an online instruction day the next morning. At school we had even put up the assignments for each class, and all we had to do was open the link for students to see.  I’d dragged home a bulging bag of papers, grateful for a day to make some headway on them.

But, what came the day after that online instruction day was quite unexpected. Jay arose, checked the school website and saw that it was a real snow day. No school. No online instruction. An extra day, totally unplanned. He looked at me across the kitchen and commented, “Time is a gift.” And so it is.
In our crazy busy world, it seems that time becomes more and more valuable all the time. And a whole day lay before me. I made cute blue dresses for Flora and Helen’s American Girl dolls, drank a cup of hot chocolate nice and slow, and graded some more of the papers in that bulging bag, knowing that now Christmas break would be paper grading free. (And that is a gift!)
Most of my days are prescribed with little variation: go to work, come home from work, cook supper, grade some papers, go to bed, and start all over tomorrow. But, having an unexpected day had a way of reminding me that time really is a gift. It’s a gift whether I’m making doll clothes or teaching mythology. It’s easy to forget on those day-to-day days that all time is a gift.
So, I am grateful for this reminder on the brink of the busiest time of year that time itself is a gift. It’s the opportunity to find satisfaction and even enjoyment in the routines of life: the commute to work, the picking up toys, the grading of papers.
Time is life, and life is precious whether I’m engrossed in sewing, sunk deep in a Bible study, or cleaning the kitchen. Time is a gift.

Many thanks to my student Janessa who let me borrow her doll. :)


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Christa!


Dear Christa—
Sometimes thankfulness is simply an acknowledgment and realization that there is much to appreciate in life. Then, sometimes thankfulness can produce a passion—like with the Apostles and others after them—who were and are so focused on the redemption of Christ that it spurs them on to heights of deep emotions.
But, one thing in the range of thankfulness—true gratitude takes us out of ourselves—we a people who are naturally bent to look within ourselves instead of outward.
Since the time of our first parents—in that perfect garden—looked first to themselves and down through all these ages, we all have the tendency to look first within—to consider ourselves—myself—before others. I see it clearly day by day in my thoughts, my words, my actions.
And yet—that is not how Christians should be characterized. The Bible is plain—the world “will know we are Christians by our love.” Love takes our focus beyond ourselves. We are expected to love and perhaps love itself begins with a thankful heart.
So, on the days that thankfulness does not well up in us, it is right to will it into our thoughts. We are much blessed this day and everyday.
Let the focus of our hearts bend toward gratitude, for with gratitude we find ourselves becoming what we were always meant to be.
Happy Thanksgiving, Christa!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Finding What Is Right


Dear Christa—
And as the night enveloped them, and they drove away—away—but not from the pain, she spoke softly, “We have to do what’s best for us.” And she was right in saying so—hard as those words must have been. And so they did, and it was right. Time has proven so.
The Bible speaks of a woman who tears down her home, but a wise woman builds it up. Sometimes that is not easy. It demands a coming along side. It requires a pondering—a consideration of what is best, what is right—what is right for us.
Many things in our walk are laid out—rules to be followed from the mouth of God in Scripture. And, we are wise to know them and to obey them. Yet, many things are not so commanded. Not every family looks the same and thankfully so. It shouldn’t. 
So, each couple as they embark on a lifetime together must do what is right—what is right for them. For some that will take them to remote villages in distant continents, far, far from home. For some it will mean a continuing of a life they have always known. And each must decide. Each must do what is right for them.
Sometimes things that seem forever change. Life has a way of carrying us to places we didn’t look for. And what we find there—well, that’s often up to us.
My mother-in-law followed her husband all over the Southwest during his working years. Once, when I was a young wife, she told me, “I just decided I was going to find the good things about wherever we were.” That was a good lesson for me. It helped me to move from my native Midwest and build a home in the Colorado that I love.
And, as time shifts and turns, I want to never be afraid to experience a new adventure, for life should never be stagnant regardless of where we are. So, let us not be shocked at the surprises that await us. We are on a journey to the Holy City, and we must walk the path that is right for us.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Perseverance


Dear Christa—
The memory verse was James 1:2-3—
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because we know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
When James penned these words, he may have been talking about the great trials of religious persecution that the early believers faced. But, whether our trials are of literal persecution or the many petty trials of this life to the great struggles we endure, I’ve come to believe that all trials bring pain. And, I have seen many lately who are dealing with pain.
Some pains are transitory, as are many of the pains I hear about between high schoolers. Some, though, deal with illness and divorce which will leave an indelible mark, and then some trudge on through the aftermath of death—wondering how to adjust to this life without the parent that they so depended on. All are trials. All are in pain—and that endurance of pain makes sense of the ending of this verse that has at times been confusing to me.
I do not believe it is the trial itself that develops perseverance, but to whom we go when we are in pain.
Pain has a way of pushing toward God as our refuge or away from Him.
So, where do we go in times of pain? Do we wish it away—so much so that we reject the Comforter who waits for us? Or, do we go where we’ve always gone—the only place we really know where to go?
Pain should send us to our only Redeemer, the only One who can right the wrongs, comfort our sorrows, and bring us peace in the knowledge of His purposeful plan.
Then, and only then, can we consider our trials something in which to rejoice.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Journeys


Dear Christa—
J. Alfred Prufrock, the topic of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Purfrock” (a poem I won’t miss teaching this year), measured out his life in coffee spoons. The question always came up, “What kind of man measures his life in coffee spoons?” In the years that I taught juniors and seniors, I sometimes wondered, “What kind of woman measures her life in grading research papers?” It was a sobering question—a question that many women ask; they just replace the gerund phrase with another mundane activity. What kind of woman measures out her life in changing diapers, driving kids to activities, finding the bugs in the next computer program? The list goes on and on.
For me I usually think of the start of a new year as coming in August. This year has brought changes—some I asked for, some I didn’t. Christa, your world too is changing. As I’ve sat behind your family the last few weeks in church, it has struck me how old your kids are becoming. You will soon leave the preschool years behind and you’re entering the world of high school, and I thought, “maybe I need to change up some of these journals.”
What I remember most about teenagers and high school was whirlwind craziness, laughter, frustration, and some of the most fun and scary times I’ve ever had. There you sit on the brink of the fastest slide to grown children than you can ever imagine.
I think that the hardest thing for me as a parent was and is the realization that I have so little control over the ones I love most. Parents teach and train. We aren’t perfect, but we generally do the best we know how. What we want most is for our children to reach out to the God we know is their only hope and strength to navigate this fallen and enticing world. But, in the end they each decide the path to tread.
I think the thing I would tell you about children is to flex with each new phase—to embrace the newness, to not look too longingly at the younger phases you leave behind. There’s always something exciting and rejuvenating in a new direction.
The sad thing about J. Alfred Purfrock in his poem is that at the end, he never changed. He just stayed paralyzed in his coffee measuring routine. Look to the future with hope, not regret. Reach to the future, anticipating good things. I’m hoping to do the same. There were lots of things I loved about teaching sophomores that I’d forgotten over the last 12 years. I’m finding joy in them, and one of those things is that “The Love Song of J. Alfred Purfrock” is not in their curriculum.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Such Great Salvation


Dear Christa—
Think about it: one little act of disobedience. How could it seem so bad? How often have we done similar things? —left the classroom door unlocked, drove just five miles over the speed limit, didn’t do the one thing we were asked to do today—such a little thing. Could it really make such a difference—really?
Yes. Yes, it did.
Did it seem like a simple act? A bite? A little taste? And after her disobedience, Eve’s next step—in her newly gained knowledge—was to take Adam down with her. Then suddenly, nothing was simple any longer, and the whole human race came crashing down into what’s been coined as The Fall of Mankind.
After God laid down the judgment, and her children were conceived in passed down sin, not much else is mentioned about Eve in the Bible. But, Eve may have lived a long time outside that beautiful garden.
I wonder what she thought about as the sun beat down by day and the heat rose up by night? If anyone saw the immediate results of her sin, it surely was Eve.
And, though God had promised redemption, and it was certain to come, I wonder how long it took Eve to accept herself and move on? How often did those words of the serpent haunt her dreams? With every withered flower she touched, did she rue that moment? Did she look away from Adam in shame and whisper, “If only…?”
Sometimes our actions cause deep and terrible consequences. Yet, even though such a great price of redemption has been paid, Satan can paralyze us with “what could have beens” to gain a victory long lasting for himself.
Yes, we sin. Who has not disobeyed the Word of the Lord many times over? And, the significance of that disobedience is revealed in the remedy—the very death of God in the Person of His Son.
So, when we sin (for we all sin), we must focus—not on ourselves—but on the great act of redemption that saves us—not just from a fiery separation from God for all eternity—but also from ourselves, this day and everyday forward.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer's End


Dear Christa—
The fourth and last load of sheets hangs on the clothesline, vying with a couple of sleeping bags and a tarp for space. The first load of towels is in the washer and the extra table taken down and a few of the floors vacuumed—all in silence. There was a time when to clean in silence was a treat, but those days have passed.





What a wonderful summer it has been, culminating with all four of our kids and their families for two glorious weeks. As everyone was here, I noticed that the three pictures of Jay and me that hang in the main bathroom continued to grow more and more crooked each day. I thought about straightening them, but instead I left them crooked and silly because I thought they were funny. Each day was filled with laughing and crying and tattling. We consumed more food than anyone could imagine, took probably a gazillion pictures, and had a ton of fun—so much fun that I don’t know what I’d say was my favorite.
The last time all the families were together was at Joy’s wedding, when we only had two little grandchildren. And after the celebrating and the cleaning, Kim put her feet up and said, “I’m so glad that everyone is married, and now when we get together we can just have fun.” And so we did: six years later and with eight more grandchildren.
Not all those six years have been fun. Each of us has had our struggles. Each of us probably could have done better. But, each of us is still connected, and I think that has a way of strengthening us. We laugh with each other. We learn from each other. We carry each other’s burdens.  And we know we are never alone.
Sometimes we feel alone, but it is a lie.
And, in the family of Christ, we are never alone, ever.
We are a part, and we are a family.







“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Michal


Dear Christa—
1 Chron. 15:29 states, “As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.” 2 Sam. 6:16 recounts the entrance of the ark to Jerusalem almost verbatim, except it adds the phrase “dancing before the Lord.”
There is a side to Michal that I can sympathize with. Did David ever really love her? I doubt it. She was a prize—purchased with the foreskins of 200 dead Philistines. Perhaps at one time she’d been infatuated by the strength and daring of her brother’s comrade who shared the king’s table, but no longer.
Eventually, as a piece of loose change, Saul pawned her off on another after David fled for his life, leaving her behind. And, it does seem intimated to me that in the house of Paltiel she’d known a man who’d truly loved her, for he walked behind her, weeping, when David vied for the throne and once more called for his prize, which was perhaps as much a political move to secure his position as anything else.
Michal, jaded and bitter, gazed down at her husband and king and despised him. I’m not sure I would have felt any differently. But, there is more revealed of Michal— more which speaks a warning.
Michal was a real live princess, raised in palace. Michal was the daughter of Saul, whose power had made him prideful and self-serving. And, as the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I think Michal may have felt too sophisticated and haughty to dance with the commoners. And she apparently was little impressed with the Lord’s ark and His blessings. After all, she was a princess—and not to be too judgmental of her—the Lord had rejected her father, and her brother who loved the Lord. It would have been a hard pill to swallow.
Jonathan had accepted God’s sovereign plan; Michal could not. It is so easy when one has felt wronged to turn a bitter stance. But, Michal’s bitterness did little for her. David himself chides her when he returns home, rubbing in God’s rejection of her family, and 2 Samuel 6:23 tells us that Michal had no children, ever—a grave disappointment to a Jewish woman.
Disappointments and wrongs happen in life, and when they do, it’s easy to turn to bitterness instead of trusting in the sovereign hand of God and believing that He is good. Michal’s life is a warning against that.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Camping


Dear Christa—
I’ve been having an issue with cooking pans lately, and today the problem is that I don’t have one. We brought our pop-up trailer here near Cripple Creek today so that Jay could fish, and I could work on the book. We’d also had a conversation last week about if we weren’t going to use the trailer, we need to sell it. It spurred us to take a day and a half to get away. Boy, have we had some great memories in this old trailer.
We bought this trailer 18 years ago to take our last big vacation with all our children before they started the college phase of life. Teaching in Christian schools, we never had the money to take fancy vacations, but we did have time. And so we camped. No matter how grumpy and disgruntled any of us were, it always dissipated to fun while camping.
I think Jay and I first decided we’d like a trailer the time we were camping with my sister and her family—when the inevitable thunder shower came, and Jay and I were in the van making up beds while Lora and Steve were stuck in the drenched tent with a toddler and all 4 of our kids. We’ve hauled this trailer to Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas, and up the west coast, over to Yellowstone and back. But, it’s mainly gone on countless fishing and hunting trips up here around Cripple Creek. Camping was good for us.
Every family needs to find something that they really like to do together. It doesn’t have to be exciting; it doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be together. When we got the trailer, everyone had a job. Our kids today could tell you who was responsible for what when it came to putting the trailer up and down. Everyone could recount camping stories that would make the others laugh, probably most of them at my and Jay’s expense.
And, someday we surely will sell this trailer. The appeal of something that goes up and down easier without the hands of four teenagers was very enticing this morning. This old trailer has stayed dormant for the last three summers as we’ve traveled through Europe and stayed at nicer American accommodations, but I don’t think we’re ready to give up camping. Our children are bringing up a whole new generation of little campers for us to entertain, and I’m looking forward to it.
But, my immediate problem is what I’m going to cook the soup in tonight. I think it’s going to be the teakettle. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just Stop

Dear Christa—
I think a key for me is to just know when to stop. 
We were one night at home between a trip to Illinois and a trip to New Mexico. As I was doing laundry, I put on a pan of sugar water to fill up the hummingbird feeders and went about my business. As I was folding laundry upstairs, I could smell a sweet odor coming through the front windows. “I wonder what someone is grilling to smell so sweet?” I thought.
When I finished folding clothes, I started down the stairs. Half way down I could see the smoke billowing through the house and Jay sitting in the middle of it all—smoke wafting all around him—as he stared intently into the laptop screen, working on a DVD. “Something is burning! Something is burning!” I shouted, as I galloped down the stairs.
The pan was burnt to a crisp; the downstairs was filled with smoke, and not a fire alarm one had gone off, even though there are two close to the kitchen. Jay looked up and said, “I thought someone was making smores.”



I glared at the pan of blackness, a pan that I probably use more than any other. I thought I knew how to deal with it: poured ammonia over a paper towel, stuffed it in a plastic bag and sat it outdoors and went to Albuquerque the next morning.
Sometime after we returned, I looked at the pan, and it looked just the same. I got on the handy dandy Internet and tried nearly every solution, except to use drain cleaner, which I am just not doing.
So, this morning I decided that it’s time to just stop—maybe not throw it away, but at least to set it aside. Sometimes I need to admit when enough is enough, at least for now.
Summer is half over, and I could keep on scrubbing on this old pot, but some things in life just need to be put away. I keep at them through pride or habit, and that is not wise. When it gets right down to it, we should consider what we spend our time on. Some things are worth it; some things aren’t.
So, I’ve had it with this old pan. There are more important things to do with a summer day. I might pull it out some dark wintry evening, or I may not. But, even though I’ve made progress on it, it’s time to stop.
Sometimes, you just need to know when to stop.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Extended Family

Dear Christa—

Finally in a rain pattern—and God knew we needed it. I don’t think I could live in Seattle or any place where it rains constantly, but rain when looking toward another dry, hot summer and fires burning close and far—well, it just feels so good. It makes me want to breathe deep and smell the freshness in the air. And I like a cooling afternoon shower. It has a calming effect and soothes me. It feels like coins from heaven falling when Jay is able to skip a watering day.

Extended family is like that for me—a freshness that centers me. 

This year we made it to our big family reunion—the side with 31 grandchildren (the small side).


 
And after the tables were cleaned and the floor swept and mopped, we looked around (my sisters and I and the cousins who grew up in the Quad-cities with us), and we said, “Do we have to go?” So—many of us decided we just had too much catching up to do to leave so soon.

At first we gathered in small circles, but as the hours moved toward evening, we eventually ended up in two large circles of chairs—the men and the women. I don’t know what those men talked about, but I know when our circle sucked in the last few women. It was when Aunt Marg made reference to a little known family story, and all us cousins said, “Tell us,” and Aunt Betty looked coyly at my mom and said, “You tell it.” And we cousins, we all leaned forward. Then we scooted around to let in the others, because somehow mysterious things draw us in. And Mother told something that I’d never heard before, which ended with “and that better not end up in a blog.”



Then there were stories from aunts that told of years long gone by when they were growing up during the Depression. There were stories of how they’d met our uncles and married young and gave birth (many of them just teenagers) and stories of Grandma who’d lived in her mother-in-law’s house until after Mom, the fifth child, was born (and my grandparents even shared a bedroom with her). The family stories, probably from my grandma, do not paint her as a nice lady. Some asked where certain handed down pieces had originated.
Then we cousins spoke our part—comments like Peggy not eating any meat at Denny’s house, but I was kind of struck by some recounts of women and their men. And as one cousin stated verbatim what she’d said to a neighbor woman making some moves toward her husband, she finished off with, “and you CAN put THAT on the blog!”

These family stories—the nostalgic and even the ugly—they ground us. They make us know that in a world unpredictable, we have a place. We are a part and we are significant. These are the people to whom we belong. Everyone wants to belong.

Family stories go on. After only a day at home, we buzzed off to Albuquerque to see Jay’s brother and his wife from Virginia, whom we’d lived close to back in the days when we were having babies. Those two short days we recounted stories of weddings and grandbabies—stories that I’ll retell when our kids and grandkids all arrive here in two weeks.

Family stories—they are like coins from heaven and rain on thirsty tongues. 

Breathe deep and feel the freshness in the air—cooling rain that says we belong.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sarah's Wedding Joy

 
As the music swells and the doors at the back of Stone Chapel open, you just know that for some weddings you should have worn water-proof mascara. Yesterday was Sarah’s wedding.
From concerts to football games, our families seem to have navigated the teenage years together. Between our families, we managed to have 7 consecutive years of kids in school. Kris taught them history, and I taught them English. With shared activities and our daughters’ close friendships, we’ve spent a lot of time together—their family and ours. Even beyond high school, our children’s chosen paths are uncannily similar: We have a son in the military; they have a son in the military. They have a son in ministry; we have a son in ministry. Our youngest daughters remain dear friends.
But, our Joy and their Sarah are both firstborns—and both dreamed of marriage and motherhood. Both watched each of their younger siblings marry and become parents as they waited…and they waited. They waited a seemingly very long time. And often they lifted each other up.
Scripture instructs us to share in each other’s sorrow and each other’s joy.
It’s hard to share joy as you watch others experience what you so desperately desire. It isn’t that you want any less for them—but, oh, the ache—the longing. The wondering “Why?” The wondering “What’s wrong with me?”
But yesterday—yesterday, we stood in the same chapel where we stood for Joy only a few short years ago, waiting for the music to swell—waiting for those doors at the back to open.
And this time I could hardly stand it as I watched the little bell ringers (Sarah’s nephews) prance down the aisle, bells in hand, shouting, “The bride is coming! The bride is coming!” And I just knew then that I’d made a mistake when I’d chosen my mascara.
We watched as Sarah became single no longer. We ate dinner, and Joy sat across the table in miserable full-term-pregnancy delight as she shared in Sarah’s joy. And I imbibed as an elixir the pleasure of Sarah’s brothers and sister as they celebrated with Sarah. It reminded me of us.





Sometimes it is so easy to share in someone’s joy. 
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans. 12:15

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Eagles


Dear Christa—

I saw the eagles this morning—first 2, then 3—gliding high above the treetops and the bean fields. I could tell they were eagles because they are so big, even at that distance, and because of how they glide and swirl in circles.

I’m in southern Illinois this week. I saw the eagles on my walk out to the road and back. There are no fancy greenways here to walk, just the lane out to the road, so I walk it—too late in the morning—to the road and back three times. That’s when I saw them, the eagles.

On this piece of land, that’s been in my family for generations, there is mainly natural beauty. The wild orange daylilies line the ditch in profusion. As I approach the bridge, a red-winged blackbird squawks at me from his perch on the power line. The bottom fields are planted in beans instead of last year’s corn. 



At one round I pause on the creek bridge to peer into the water, as my children did years ago when they were young and this old farm held them spellbound with wonders not seen in the city. They would search this creek for small fish, frogs, and snakes. I’m glad that I don’t see a snake this morning.

But, my eyes continually lift to the heavens in search of the eagles. Now, there are four, swirling, swirling so high that they are just specks against the sky.

Eagles have always been special. The Greeks and Romans associated their most powerful god with the eagle. Countries, including ours, use it as a symbol of majesty and power.

The eagles are such a sight. They sweep across the horizon. Jay hears them screech as he’s working up near the house.

I would like to be an eagle, soaring high above the earth—seeing all things. But, I know that I am like the little birds that feverishly flap their wings, low to the earth, fluttering here and then there.

I have never seen the eagles flap their wings. Instead they stretch them out, tilting one way and then another, letting the invisible air hold them. I don’t know what it takes to be an eagle, high above, seeing beyond. Something tells me it’s tied to suffering, but I don’t want to suffer.

I know spiritual eagles, and I know I am not one. They are rare. 

I have walked to the road and back many times over the years, but rarely have I seen the eagles.

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Is. 40:31)