Peace in the Midst of Uncertainty

This morning I drove Grandma and Uncle Roy to Gaston Hematology & Oncology. As we pulled into the parking lot, a lady and who appeared to be her father were exiting the building. His tall, frail frame caught my attention. He reminded me of my Uncle “Knot” who courageously battled cancer before his death a couple years ago…


It wasn’t long before my uncle was called to the back for his tests. My grandmother sat in a sturdy arm chair in the waiting area. I took my place on a surprisingly comfortable sofa alongside a large window. Patient after patient came and went through the heavy wooden doors. Men, women and children filled out forms, flipped through magazines and watched the same pharmaceutical commercials loop on the small flat screen TV. One man in particular, who appeared to be in his mid to late forties, walked in and went to the front desk.

Medical Office Assistant: “Hello sir, how are you?”

Patient: “Well…I’m actually pretty nervous.”

It’s unusual to hear any response besides the usual “fine, how are you.” But, he was being honest and transparent. Sitting in a facility where people are diagnosed with cancer other life-altering ailments, and receive chemotherapy and other treatments, I could only imagine what was going through their minds.

But, in a room full of worried faces and nervous hearts, a soothing sound seeped through the quietness. It was the tranquil, welcoming melody of four little birds chirping in a big, beautiful display nearby. The colorful birds fluttered around singing happily, nibbling on tiny seeds. I imagine the addition of the beautiful birds was just a part of the design plan, and they chose birds over fish perhaps. However, I see them as peace in the midst of uncertainty. If only for a few minutes, someone’s weary mind can be distracted by the beautiful, playful beings.

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I believe that if we’re intentional about what we allow in our mental space, we can find a glimmer of hope in despair, a ray of light in the darkness and serenity in the storm. It could be something as simple as the sound of rain on a tin roof, the soft cuddles of a newborn, a babbling brook or the innocent laughter of a child.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Peace.

Tranquility.

There is still love. There is still life. There is still hope.

God can calm any storm in our lives, no matter how rough the waves or how strong the winds may blow. May we always see beauty in the battle.

Feel It, to Heal It

“…he/she must attend directly to the wound, dig in it, open it up, clean out the dirt, perhaps the pus and infection, dead skin, etc.  So likewise, it’s the same emotionally. We can’t deny, avoid or neglect our hurt. Instead of running away from it, we have to go to the source of our pain and attend to the wound, then we will begin the process of healing. ” Uncle J

I love my Uncle J. Though time and circumstance keeps us physically apart, our bond keeps us near at heart. He’s my best friend.

I’m thankful for our correspondence and how he keeps it real with me. Growing up without my father, I will never have that all-important connection that I longed for, but I’m grateful for the ever-growing relationship I have with my uncle.


It can be easy to notice when someone else is carrying a heavy load or burden. They may seem tired, angry or anxious. But often times, it takes someone else to come forward and express concern about grief that YOU have been carrying.

I hadn’t realized that I’ve been grieving all these years. Grief is an emotional and sometimes physical response to loss. But, how can I miss something/someone I never had? It’s just that. I constantly grieve the absence of my Daddy, wasted time, and familial relationships whose seeds should have been planted years ago.

I have a bad habit of dwelling on lost/wasted time. My Uncle J reminds me that we can’t go back, but we can make the best of the time we have left.

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Dear Me…

Uncle J encouraged me to do something I had never thought of, though I’ve always found writing to be very therapeutic.

“Little Courtney is still hurting…that precious little girl with the chubby cheeks. You know better than anyone else what she needs. Give it to her.”

My uncle told me about visual imagery and how it could help to heal my emotional wounds. He encouraged me to close my eyes, mentally go to a special place that I liked to play or pick muscadines, notice the sounds, sights and smells. Pick little Courtney up and talk to her.

I would tell her all the things I wished someone had told me growing up.

Uncle J also encouraged me to write a letter to my younger self. In his words, “she needs to hear what you have to say.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I haven’t sat down to do this exercise yet, but I will. Soon. I have no doubt in my mind that it will be tremendously beneficial to my emotional healing.

Open up. Let it all out.

 

 

A Living Canvas: God’s Artwork

1446145690103There’s something about autumn that soothes the soul. Something magical in the reds, yellows, oranges, and browns, as the leaves shake and dance in the chilly air, before floating to the ground.

Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year. It’s not only the season in which I was born (September 27), when the most horror movies are on TV, or the time that we gather together and express our thankfulness…but, it’s just the feeling of fall itself. I look forward to the crisp, clear mornings when dew gently blankets the earth.

It’s refreshing to inhale the autumn air, free of summer’s suffocating humidity. Friday night football, hot chocolate, s’mores, pumpkins, ghosts, goblins, turkeys, sweet potato pie….autumn! 1446925817025All of God’s marvelous creation is beautiful, but it seems He took a little extra time on the autumn’s canvas. A few more layers of color, a couple extra strokes of the brush. It’s hard not to stand in awe of its loveliness. People travel for miles to sit in traffic and view the scenic artistry of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I haven’t had the opportunity to witness the sights, but it is definitely at the top of my list!


1111151451It’s important to take the time to just…be. Take a break, look around and soak up nature’s splendor. Take pictures, have a picnic, go to the lake. Make it a priority to get away and just enjoy God’s masterpiece! It shouldn’t take the rain coming and “ruining” our plans, just to notice the weather and what’s going on outside of our homes or jobs. We must take advantage of the sunshine, cool breeze and God’s palette of perfection.