New Year’s weekend was spent at the beach. It was 4 glorious days of chilly evenings and mornings and brilliant sunshine during the day. We didn’t want to leave so four days turned into five. It was walking for miles looking for sea glass and eating seafood fresh off the boat. It was breathing sea air facing the surf and letting go of 2014. It was putting off stress and anxiety for another day.
Before that, we had all gathered around a table and celebrated my folks 63rd wedding Anniversary. It was a week of celebrations.
2015 hit me full force on the morning of January 4th. The night before we had pulled into Bakersfield RV park where we have always had a wonderful stay. It was dark. I chose the backside of the park thinking it would be quieter, but it was a bad spot and the hookups were situated in an awkward place. We were both irritable and hungry. We had dinner and missed the season premiere of Downton Abbey because of bad cable in the park.
I tossed and turned all night and awoke with a feeling of dread such as I hadn’t had in a long time. It surrounded me like a cloak. Happy New Year.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
That feeling stayed with me off and on for the entire week. I prayed, I did battle. I also kept thanking God for each new day, which is always a gift we don’t deserve, no matter how we may be feeling. I also spent some sleepless nights trying to map out the coming year. I solved unsolvable puzzles in my mind at 2:00 AM awaiting the alarm at 4:00 AM. Finally, the last part of my week ended. I felt like Jacob after he wrestled with the angel of God all night.
The truth is, all of us are walking around with our hips out of joint. All of us are in a battle of some kind or another.
Sunday January 10th, I decided to put dread and fear on hold. It was a wonderful day. E had rigged up an ingenious antenna so that we could get all four PBS stations and I watched them off and on all day just because I could. We had a wonderful dinner and I made scones for dessert which we ate with lemon curd and blackcurrant jam. We lifted our glasses as we watched two episodes of Downton, the one we missed and the new one.
This morning the dread threatened to come back, I was awake at 2 again and prayed for merciless sleep. I envisioned the still pond, the diamonds on the water, I recalled the sounds of the waves, and the foghorn in the night. I asked Jesus to send me some sleep and after about an hour He did.
This morning I beat back the darkness by opening the Word. For God has given us a promise, that if we open His word with expectation of receiving what it has the power to give; He will provide us with light on our path, if only just for the few steps we must walk today.
I remembered Lady Galadriel’s parting gift to Frodo in Lord of the Rings, the glass vial filled with the light from the star of Earendil. She tells him, ” I give you the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
Jesus said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” There will be days in this life when we wake filled with fear, dread, even despair, but we can always take hope and take heart, if we are believers.
Do you see it? It’s right there just off the trail. A sunny spot with a log perfect for sitting so that we can turn our faces to the Son and the sun, so we can warm enough to go on again.
This morning I have already laughed and cried reading Anne Lamott’s new book “Small Victories.” She is one of my little patches of sun today. In her book I read these lines by Wendell Berry:
“it may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”
Take heart and take hope today with me friends. I have never done this before on my blog, though other bloggers do it each year. My word for this year which the Holy Spirit dropped into my heart this morning is “Stand.” Because before you walk or run, you need to stand. And stand strongly.