Tropical Storm Lee breezed through on Sunday. It rained, and rained, and then rained some more. And the wind ~ my word, the wind gusts were amazing! The weather man said our gusts topped out at 35 miles per hour, but I think they were a little stronger than that. Street signs were blown off their posts and healthy branches knocked from their trees. And there were approximately five billion leaves in the pool. No exaggeration... five billion. A lot. In the top, in the bottom, in the skimmers. They were all over the pool deck, stuck to the side of the house, and covering the grass. It's not even officially fall, and I would guesstimate that between 10 and 15 % of the leaves are already down.
Here's where the hate part of the relationship with the leaves comes in; it's all about the pool. I love the leaves when they are turning colors on the trees or when they are blowing in the breeze an making that pretty sound that only leaves can. But when there are 5 billion of them in the pool that have to come out, I am not so fond of them. Their beauty and purpose takes a back burner to my aggravation with them.
Yesterday afternoon, I arrived home around 2:40 from a day at my mom's house. She's not well. That's the best way I can phrase it... she's just not well anymore. I did a few things there, and we had lunch together, and I came home and sat in my chair in complete silence until my kids walked in the door from school. When they went to play with friends, I got out the blower and set to work, bad attitude about the stinking leaves in tow. Step one of the removal process was to blow all the leaves off the pool deck and the patio areas. As I blew, the sound of the gas motor lulled my mind into this weird state of consciousness, thinking about everything but nothing at all. I began to notice little flickers of color here and there. Gold. Bright orange. Deep red. Stunning greens. And then I heard this little voice say to me...
There is beauty in everything.
Amidst a sea of annoying leaves were these bursts of vivid colors. They stood out so much though they were infinitely smaller in number from the brownish dying ones. And so I thought about my mom, about her hurting, her struggling for air, her fighting this horrific fight that no one should have to battle through. And I realized that I can find little specks of beauty throughout it all. They are small... minute in comparison to all the ugly she's dealing with... but they are there. Bits of color. Bits of crazy beauty. Bits of brightness and boldness.
I can't explain this feeling, this mourning and pain that comes along with watching a loved one suffer. There is no word in the English language to encompass it. But one piece of beauty that streams forth from it is letting go of my own selfishness. Learning to be of service to someone you love. Learning to pray differently. Learning to let go of my will and truly seek out His. Learning to literally set out blindly in faith that He will take care of her needs, my needs, my father's needs , and my brothers as He has promised so many times in the Word. Learning that the depth of my pain is equal to the worth my mother has brought to my life. Amidst all these ugly bits of brown and fading green pop forth the little specks of brightness. My battle is to hold on to those somehow... to keep my focus on the beautiful and not the ugliness. By no means is this an easy task.
And, so, this will be my prayer...
... See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If this is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:28-34
I used to think this Scripture applied more to worrying about financial needs, but now I see it in a different light. It's worrying about earthly needs, which is much broader than just clothing and food. I long to let go of my earthly needs and lean more on the Father. He has everything under his control, right down to the minute wildflowers that burst forth in bright color amidst the grasses and weeds of the field. And if that's not a crazy kind of lovely, then I don't know what is.