Thursday, June 12, 2008

Package Deals and Peaks & Valleys

Recently, I was at a garage sale where the woman had piled miscellaneous junk into a dozen or so boxes down the center aisle. The boxes were priced at just one dollar each, but the catch was that you had to take the entire box and all of its contents. You had to accept the junk along with the treasures.

I've been spinning on that thought ever since.

Around the same time as that garage sale, a friend's husband announced that he was leaving her. It makes me wince even to write the words. He left for a variety of reasons, none of them pretty, and he admits none of them are a reflection of any of her own shortcomings; he just wanted out to pursue his own sinfulness. Ouch doesn't even touch it.

I won't say if this is a local or faraway friend, but I have been in communication with her through this process. The wound is still jagged and raw, but she is trying to process what is happening as she looks toward a different life than what she had always imagined for herself.

She talked about the fact that the life she has now is a result of the years she had with him. We talked about her children. Through all of this, they continue to bring her so much joy and comfort. They are wonderful kids. But they exist because of a relationship with a man who has now brought tremendous pain into her life.

What can she say? "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10)

It is a package deal.

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It has been cloudy and grey and cold here for a couple of weeks. I know this is not very long to the Pacific NW and Great Lakes folk, but it is a long time for us. We are accustomed to sunshine here, with only occasional grey. (You will notice that I moved away from both of the aforementioned areas.)

This morning, driving my kids to VBS at church, the clouds parted briefly, giving me a few tiny glimpses of some of the mountain peaks. I felt my heart swell. For some reason, I need to see the peaks occasionally.

I know the mountains are there, of course, and I can at least see the bases of the mountains even in heavy cloud cover, but there is something about seeing the peaks.

When we have continuous cloud cover like this, I find myself scanning the horizon, trying to remember where the peaks should be in relation to everything else. How high were they? I ask myself.

But I need the valley, as well. I need the shadows and the flat, open spaces, the winding river and the patchwork of farmers' fields. I need the contrast between the two to really appreciate either one.

When the clouds have shrouded the peaks for so long, and my focus has become so valley-centric, then just a brief glimpse of the rugged mountain tops, covered with a glorious blanket of fresh snow, is enough to thrill my soul. When I see them all the time, sometimes I forget to be thrilled.

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My friend is in a deep valley right now. The clouds are heavy and thunder rumbles threateningly. She can't see the peaks.

Oh, God, part the clouds for my friend, just for a moment, just for a brief glance. Remind her of your loving provision, whisper to her of the future and the hope that you have for her. Strengthen her for each hour and fill her heart with courage. Where she is feeling betrayed, rejected and abandoned, wrap her in your tender embrace and hold her close.

The peaks and the valleys; they're a package deal.

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I lift my eyes up
Up to the mountains
Where does my help come from?

My help comes from you
Maker of Heaven
Creator of the Earth

Oh, how I need you, Lord
You are my only hope
You’re my only prayer

So I will wait for you
To come and rescue me
Come and give me life

2 comments:

alison said...

Wonderfully and beautifully said. I am so sorry for your friend's sorrow. You will be a good companion to her in the journey.

CML_Shearings said...

"Amen" for those of us who have cycled repeatedly through the peak & valley times. The "Son" is always behind those clouds - always with us whether we can see or feel Him at the moment or not. Thankfully we learn this after a few cycles.