This morning I woke up to a message that a family member had passed away early in the morning, I always think of him as a great uncle, but the truth he is my grandfather's cousin. He and his wife host our family Easter every year, and then I see him at our family reunion every year. His land is also the family hunting ground. So I was really sad when I heard that he passed away, as I have gotten older I feel like I have gotten closer to him and really enjoy the time I have spent with him. I know that his immediate family will be sad for quite awhile because he was an incredible man.
After I got this news I found myself thinking, of course something bad happened, I almost had a good week. This thought and these feelings haunted me throughout the day and as I drove the hour home from Emporia tonight I found myself feeling incredibly selfish. This summer hasn't been an easy one and I have been working through a lot of emotions, some of which I am not proud of like these selfish ones that attacked me today.
As I was driving home tonight my music started to do what it always does for me, opens up my heart and soul and allows God to connect with me in a way that doesn't happen without music. My whole body relaxed as "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North came on. This song has been like a theme song for me this summer and I let my heart scream out with the words from the song. The next song was "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman and this was where I started to realize that I was missing the mark with where my heart is right now. The music continued and my heart started to open up in a way it hasn't this summer. At some point it started raining. Which seemed to be perfect. I started thinking about the crazy rains I had driven in the past few days and weeks and how they seemed to mimic the events of the summer.
The one that stands out would be the severe thunderstorm I drove in last week. This was the kind of storm where you couldn't see more than a couple feet in front of you, and it is either pull over and hope no one hits you or slow down and keep chugging along hoping the storm ends soon. This was the beginning of my summer when my college theatre professor passed away. It seemed like the pain that came with this death would never go away and just might do me in. But much like the rain storm there was light at the end, or after I drove long enough.
Some rains you can feel them long before they show themselves. The humidity in the air is more painful than the actual rain itself. These are those times that you can feel something coming and you know it isn't going to be good, but just having the time to process something coming somehow makes the storm a little more bearable. This would be like when little Sam passed away a couple weeks ago. I didn't know him, but knowing that he was battling cancer and only 9 years old was like feeling the humidity before the rain. Now we were all praying that he would win this battle, but in the end the rains fell and Sam went home to be with his heavenly father.
Some rains come out of no where and will wreck your picnic, or evening plans, or the way you wear you hair. Sometimes these rains are fun and you get to relax in the cooling effects. Other times they are inconvenient and just mess everything up, like getting mud on a dress or something. I feel like these are the normal things throughout a day that are sometimes good or sometimes bad. These are the "normal" stresses in life.
Rain has the ability to destroy things, flood, corrode, and send cars off the road. But rain also makes things grow, brings life to places that look like death, rain fills the land with water that we need to survive. Some of the most beautiful skies come before and after rainstorms. We would never get rainbows without the rain.
As these metaphors flowed through my soul tonight I finally felt some peace. God promised Noah that he would never flood the earth again and the sign of that promise was the rainbow. Throughout life we will have to walk through multiple storms, some that are destructive and others not so much, but a storm nonetheless. These storms will all test each of us down to the core. The way we react, handle ourselves, and the way they affect our relationship with God all say something about who we are as people and as children of God.
So I am doing my best to push the selfish thoughts and feelings out of my heart and instead look forward to gorgeous promise that comes at the end of the storm, and trying to enjoy the scenery (blessings) that come along the way!