Just one of those days...
when all is right in my world. The sun is shining. The sky is that gorgeous Carolina blue I love so much. I went to church this morning and was greeted by friends and family of the faith. We sang. We prayed. We hugged. We talked and laughed.
After church, we came home and hastily pulled things out of the fridge and the oven in anticipation of the arrival of two couples, four friends from church, who we'd invited to enjoy lunch with us. Two hours later, with pasta, salad, homemade key lime pie with fresh whipped cream, cannolis, lemonade, sweet tea, and port in our bellies, we bid them farewell. Steve and Daniel are at a baseball game. Kristiana is playing with a friend. Maya is drifting off to doggie-dream land on the ottoman next to the window. And I am listening to some of my favorite music, pausing sometimes from my typing to pretend I'm holding a microphone and singing a solo.
Reflecting. Giving thanks. It's one of those days...
But never far from my heart and mind is that this is also just another day of sorrow in countries torn by war, corruption, famine, and the aftermath of another tsunami. The families of the students and faculty slaughtered at Virginia Tech prepare for funerals, for the transportation of bodies back to their homelands in far off places. The bodies of their sons and daughters whose hopes were set on an American education and a bright future are being taken back, lifeless, to their home countries. It's another day for those who are suffering from depression, fear, loneliness, and abuse at the hands of people who claim to love them. Several missionaries had their throats cut in Turkey this week simply for wanting to share their faith with others. Karen's husband and children continue to mourn her passing. Drew is in rehabilitation after a devastating aortic rupture. Katie has bid her husband farewell for a few days - until she meets him in Barcelona for ten days' vacation. I'm terribly jealous of her upcoming journey, but for now she is alone in her house.
Just another day, one of those days when laughter is closely followed by tears. When joy is followed by sadness for the sorrows of others. Just another day when I am reminded that today is the day to rejoice. Today is the day to show others that I love them. Today is the day to tell others that, in spite of the darkness and evil that seems to be growing in our world, there is hope. There is love. There is mercy. There is restoration available.
The Psalmist wrote thse verse ages ago -
and today I copy them here, in my own words,
with an emphasis on the experience of a woman who trusts in God.
"God is my refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore, I will not fear, through the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
"She who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.'
"'Because she loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue her;
I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name,
She will call upon me, and I will answer her;
I will be with her in trouble,
I will deliver her and honor her.
Will long life will I satisfy her
and show her my salvation.'"
So I call upon the name of the Lord, asking for grace, for forgiveness,
for restoration, for comfort, for salvation and for peace.
Peace. Let there be peace in us, between us, and among us.
Let us seek peace and pursue it. As much as it is up to me,
I will live at peace with all people.
I pray that we lay down our arms, the bombs, the guns, the knives, the sticks and stones that we wield in physical conflicts. We must lay down not only those weapons, but also the weaponry of our words, the words of hatred, anger, bitterness, retaliation, jealousy, and pain with which we so readily pierce each other's minds and spirits.
Yes, it's one of those glorious Charlotte days that makes me glad to live here in the city of trees. But it's also one of the days when I refuse to let my comfortable surroundings allow me to forget the pain that crisscrosses this globe and paralyzes some, emboldens others to commit murder, and affects each and every one of us.
Again and again and again I plead:
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.