Do you ever feel like life piles so much on, that you end up feeling heavy and dirty from the trials you face, the mistakes you’ve made and/or the injuries you bear from the pain inflicted by others? I sure do. It can be hard to bear and hard to get rid of. It feels the same to me as going to bed dirty after a long, hard, hot day of work.
I hate going to bed dirty. If I’m covered in dirt from gardening or paint after working, or if it’s been a hot sticky day, I just need to feel clean and fresh to be able to rest well.
You may not have this kind of weather, but let me tell you about what it’s like in our part of Hawaii.
- the rest of the story -
In our normal weather patterns, we get warm sticky days with softly cool nights. The sky is scattered with gorgeous white fluffy clouds that come and go. But even on the nicest days, almost like clockwork, right about 8:30, we get a downpour of rain.
Sometimes it rains off and on or even constantly most of the night. In the morning we wake up and our world is covered in raindrops, like this painting “Raindrops on Orchids.” Everything has been washed by the heavens overnight. The leaves and flowers are covered in shimmering raindrops and the air smells fresher than words can even express.
When I feel “sweaty and sticky” from the difficulties of life, I long to feel this type of freshness. Sometimes it feels like I’ve gone to bed night after night without showering off the grunge of the day.
Unlike physical dirt, it’s not possible to get rid of the difficulties and pain that come our way by just washing them down the drain. Some of us deal with long term illness. We can manage it, but we can’t wash it away. Others deal with generational trauma or personal emotional pain so deep we can’t “just forgive it” and have it never impact us again. Some of us deal with depression so stubborn it’s like a stain that can’t be removed. And yes… many other types of pain - loss, grief, disappointment, loneliness and more. You get the idea. I’m sure you can already name what “grungy” thing is clinging to you.
But when it’s not physical dirt that we can just shower off, what can we do?
Someone in the Bible felt this way. He says of himself and his companions “we are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but are not destroyed.” [2 Corinthians 4:8-9]
And how is it that he handles this? He says his present troubles are small compared to the big picture of life and eternity, and in comparison, won’t last very long. “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” [2 Corinthians 4:18]
Fixing my gaze on things that cannot be seen helps me remove the grunge of each day (or a lifetime). Here are a few things that help me:
As I have told children in my letters from Aunty Mellie, “Being thankfulwon’t take away the hard things. But thankfulness, WILL replace some of those bad feelings, and help to bring some happiness back into your heart.” (See our “Encourage-a-child” packets under the "GIFTS" tab.)
Things I am thankful for are not always in front of me or easy to see. Lately, my brain has needed some help remembering and focusing on them, so I’ve begun to keep a journal. I’m writing down moments I will forget later and adding pictures of people and places that make me smile. Opening this journal and looking through it or adding new entries helps me fix my eyes on the unseen.
Things in front of me often lie. Time reading the Bible reminds me of the unseen truths that I am forgiven no matter what, that I am unconditionally loved, that I am valuable no matter my situation, and that I have a purpose for being here - even when life is messy.
If you think Christianity is about rules, hypocrisy, or politics, you haven’t met the Jesus of the Bible. If you don’t have access to a Bible, message me and I’ll make sure you get one!
~ Thinking of/praying for others
So often, the things I see before me are my own needs and the unseen things are the needs of others. Taking the idea from a movie about Mr. Rogers, I am keeping a small notebook of names. I just read through the names slowly, lifting each one up to God.
You might think living in Hawaii, I’m always out in nature. But the busyness of running two small businesses, along with chronic illness, means that some days I forget to even walk outside! Nature calms me and washes away the struggles of the day. If you don’t have your own outdoor peaceful spot, you can create your one indoors, with a framed art print or photograph, and a couple of indoor plants!
These things help me to fix my gaze on things that can not be seen, and as I do, it’s like an evening rain in Hawaii, leaving my heart and mind with clean sparkling raindrops.
I hope it does for you too.
Did this story encourage you?
If you’d like to share with me how this artwork and story has impacted you, you can use my contact form here. I’d love to hear from you.
Prints of "Raindrops on Orchids" are available at my artist website.
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