Holding on to hope, or: how not to let go of the good stuff

So my family and I have just returned from Ethiopia. There, on the edge of a lake, two families – with a total of seven children under eleven between them – run three homes that look after over seventy children. Since Ebenezer Grace Children’s Home first opened rs in 2010, it has grown year-on-year. In 2015, Lantu’s Home for newborn babies and children with additional needs opened. In 2017, House of Hope, for children with HIV/AIDS followed.

Children playing on the therapy ball at Lantu's Home

We spent our time there playing with children, assembling equipment and helping where we could. We took with us shoes, toys, equipment, nail polish. Small gifts and everyday items that brought excitement and wonder. I was amazed by the care that was provided amidst conditions that were basic at best. I was reminded all over again that places still exist where Amazon doesn’t deliver and sourcing everyday items such as drawing pins or castors is a consummate challenge.

Playing with children at Lantu's home

I first travelled to Africa nearly twenty years ago, spending the summer in Kenya, eating under-cooked meat offered to us by friendly locals out of what they didn’t have, and learning to live without electricity, running water, or normal toilets. When I came home, I struggled to get my head around the affluence of my life – even as a broke student – and the ease at which my world operated. Electricity was reliable. Systems worked. I had opportunity. Access to education and healthcare. I baulked at spending £20 on a night out, the reality of what that could provide for a family in the village that I had just left refusing to dislodge itself from my mind. I promised myself that I would not forget. But as the months passed, the sights and smells of Africa slowly receded, along with my resolve to value what I had more, live frugally, and remember those who had so, so much less than me.

Man riding donkey

I am as overwhelmed today as I was then as I attempt to return to ‘normal’ life this week. After seeing people live with so little, coming back to supermarkets, super-fast broadband and properly tarmacked roads seems lucky beyond belief; a random twist of fate that saw me born here, in England, whilst others are born elsewhere, into abject poverty and lack. But I know that now, as then, I am still prone to forget. Much like the tan that begins to fade a few weeks after you step off the plane, so too those searing memories and hot convictions cool and fade against the cold edge of everything.

In different guises, this soul-amnesia has crept up on me many times over the years. Whether it is a spiritual experience that I resolve to hang on to or a stark reminder of the absolute ease in which I live, I promise myself that it will be different this time. I write journal entries, tape things to my fridge, and turn over complex remembering-strategies in my head. I will not forget this time. I will not return to the status quo.

On the long journey home, we mull it all over. We are driving on blissfully flat roads. Our once-average car now seems absurdly luxurious against the tapestry of rides we have encountered these past ten days: tiny Ethiopian tuk-tuks and ancient vans with plastic sheeting where the windows used to be. It’s not that I haven’t had these thoughts before – and this is the thing that frustrates me the most – it’s that once home, they are so hard to hold onto. In the moment, it all seems so elemental. Immersed in the care that is being provided for the most vulnerable of children in the poorest of places, we are bought in. Sold out. I’d do anything and give everything to make a difference because I can see and touch and feel the need.

And perhaps this is the crux. Perhaps whatever takes centre stage is just that which is the most present right here, right now.  

It is the same with the spiritual too, for that also costs us, if not in exactly the same way. Whatever we choose to focus our time and energy on is always at the detriment of something else, because neither of these things are finite resources. Investing in my relationship with God may cost me my early hours, those precious slumber-filled moments I’d rather not give. Say no to self? There too is a cost. A sacrifice. A choice.

We are always choosing, even if we think we are not.

So today, I choose again, Afresh. Anew. I choose to remember God’s grace to me in all that I have been blessed with. I choose to remember that that deserves to be front and centre always. I choose to remember that just because I live in a materialistic, demand-driven society that tells me I always need more, better, faster, harder, it doesn’t mean that I can’t disagree. That I can’t say no to myself and choose self-discipline, self-denial; the putting of someone else’s need before my own. And just because I am not there – or may never have actually been there physically – does not mean I cannot be invested in a cause, a project, or a charity. I can choose to support, choose to champion, choose to give and give and give.

Because ultimately, that is how I choose not to forget.

To find out more about the work of Ebenezer Grace, to make a donation or sponsor a child like gorgeous baby Jose below, click here.

Bay Jose

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On childhood: What visiting Ethiopia taught me about simple play

We’re in the backyard of the little compound, and I am swinging one end of a rope that is tied around a tree trunk. Kids are jumping in and out, turning around and touching the ground; more and more of them crowd round and laugh as they try to join in the now-overcrowded jump rope.

‘Mummy, look at me!’ my youngest cries. ‘Look what I can do!’

She’s beaming, her nine-year-old face shining with pride as she runs across the dirt yard beating an old bicycle tyre with a piece of wood. It spins in the dust and she laughs as her new friends clap and cheer her on.

Something stops inside me.

Kids jumping rope in Ethiopia

 

We are in Hawassa, Ethiopia, our little family of four, together with three other people from our church. We are visiting friends of friends that house over seventy children who have nowhere else to go. Some are orphans or born out of wedlock. Some have illnesses or disabilities that mean their parents cannot care for them, or their tribes consider them cursed and they are cast out. Some are abandoned on the steps of hospitals or police stations, and then these people – ESMA Africa – are called, because people know that these people will not turn a child away.

We have been here all of five hours, and already our two children have assimilated into this little tribe. There seems to be no particular distinction between those kids who live in the children’s homes here, and those whose parents run it, and ours too soon blend right in. Ethiopians, Americans, English; all cultural and language boundaries seem to melt away under the heat of this African sun as the children run and play in the yard.

In the children’s home that we visit, toys are sparse; expensive luxuries. It is one boy’s birthday and we go out for ice cream. He is given a small gift by the two families that run these homes: a colouring book and a few crayons. One explains that after a while, most things enter into the communal pot of possessions at the children’s home anyway – the children have a loose grip on owning anything, and instead, most things get shared and passed around. Living in such close proximity to so many other people, the sense of self becomes more blurred here. Everything is everyone’s and everyone is cared for, loved and accepted.

This is my third trip to Africa in twenty years, and I am struck today by the same thing that struck me when I first visited Kenya as a nineteen-year-old: amidst the lack, the poverty and the need, there is a light in people’s eyes – especially children’s – that makes me ashamed of the discontent that I see and feel in my own wealthy, western culture.

In the ‘developed’ world, millions of pounds are spent on researching modern phenomena like childhood depression, anxiety, eating disorders, gaming addictions and cyber-bullying. Worried parents scour the internet, read articles and listen to TED talks. I don’t want to over-simplify or attempt to nullify those very real issues that really do plague many of our young people now, but I do wonder, standing here in the African sun with the dirt beneath my feet and the happy squeal of children echoing in my ears, whether the answer is altogether more straightforward?

Here, hardly anyone has a smartphone – not even most adults. Basics are luxuries, and luxuries are unobtainable. Two pairs of battered, plastic Disney roller skates are passed around the yard, unisex in their usage despite their faded pink and purple colouring. They provide hours of entertainment. We take a stone and scratch a hopscotch square in the dirt and teach the children how to play; they think it is the best game ever.

I watch my own daughter running with that tyre and stick. Two generations back in those post-war years of make do and make-believe, her Grandmother would definitely have played the same games on the streets of East London. But me – her firstborn – and my children, we were raised in this whole new world. It has many benefits, but despite my better judgement, I still find myself succumbing to the social pressures of this new Modern Life. I fret over how to fit in all of the activities that my children do: music lessons, horse riding, swimming, Brownies… And I worry about that which they are not getting to do: how do I get one child to football training and the other to the orchestra that her music teacher is desperate for her to try, because they are at the same time, 10 miles apart in opposite directions, and I am in college anyway.

I wonder, when did we get so caught up in all this stuff? When did planned activity take over from just running loose with a bunch of other kids and making stuff up? Finding a bit of rope and climbing a tree? The kids here have so much less materially than my own, but today, they may have given them something that is beyond that which money can buy: they taught them how to be children again.

And I remembered how to let them be children. Wild, raggedy, joy-filled children.


To find out more about the work of Ebenezer Grace, or to make a donation, click here.

If you’ve enjoyed today’s post, please share it. If you’d like to receive new posts from me directly to your inbox, please use the subscribe button (top right) to let me know your email address, and it’d be a pleasure to stay in touch!

Autumn Sunshine through the trees

Divine Sparks: Or how to find everyday inspiration in your art and your life

As she pressed the book into my hands, I knew it was going to be a good one; let’s face it: this girl  has worked in publishing, reads like a rocket, and is singularly one of the most clever and articulate people I know. Let me put it this way: if I were heading to my certain death and I had to choose a book instead of a meal, I’d let her choose for me. That’s how much I trust her.

Divine Sparks book by Donna Lazenby

So as I pondered on its title and flicked through its pages, I was of course unsurprised to find there all sorts of beautiful truths, ringing out their clarion call like drops of golden sunlight. And it was there too as I wandered the fields and lanes near my house later that day, soaking in the sun’s unexpected rays and looking out and up and in again.

Autumn Sunshine through the trees

Divine Sparks.

Those little, tiny, light-life interjections into the mundane and the everyday and the ordinary.

Those small, unremarkable moments that remind us we are alive.

This is good.

I can breathe.

So many days and I am positively scurrying through life; head down, toe to the floor – a flat-out sprint of task, next task, next task. And then I flop onto my sofa at the end of the day exhausted, worn out, and worse – uninspired.

I have stopped seeing the beauty. I am no longer taking the time to stop, and pause, and see. And I wonder in these tired-out moments just why it all feels so…. pedestrian?

I am tempted at these junctures to blame my lack of creativity, my loss of joie du vivre on something or someone else. Maybe I need a mini break. Perhaps if I was living somewhere else, did a different job, was surrounded everyday by a commune of like-minded and inspiring writers, immersed together in our art, I would be OK. Writing would flow out of me like a fountain and I would be Inspired. Creative. Brilliant.

But this is just a crutch, I know. Creativity isn’t imparted to us by the Universe, some benign and celestial gift that falls one day from the heavens and anoints us as we stand to one side passively and await its benediction. And contentment does not work that way either. So how do we find those twin blessings that so easily allude us and seemingly conspire in their hidden-ness to conceal themselves from our uncovering?

How do we find inspiration – in our lives, or in our art – in the midst of the everyday? How do we uncover those divine sparks that are already all around us and above us and underneath our feet, lighting up the path that we so readily tread and so thoroughly trample on most every, single day?

Take a break

Breaks are not for wimps. They are carefully constructed moments of pause, reflection, breath that punctuate and slow down and reset. Having the wisdom to learn that sometimes, stepping away from your desk is much better for your brain than sitting there, staring dully at that screen is a lesson well learned. So go change your scenery, take five minutes to sit in the sun – it will do you more good than you know.

Look up

Take a walk, sit outside – and look up as well as down. At the trees, the stars, the clouds passing by. Exhale. Lifting my head never fails to lift my mood, and makes me lift my eyes from my own naval. When I am feeling overwhelmed by expectations or to-do lists, getting out and looking up always helps me re-focus.

Take note

In your head, in a book, however it works for you. Sometimes we are so plain busy and under pressure that we stop taking note of anything good at all. Take a moment and make a note – of anything that you are thankful for right now. Anything that makes you smile. Family that love you, friends that make you laugh. The warm smell of coffee, a favourite book, the sun’s warming rays, a sofa to sit on….

Say thank you

And then say thank you. Giving thanks, even for the everyday and the seemingly insignificant, cultivates beautiful grace in us, and who couldn’t do with a little more of that? As Ann Voskamp, the doyenne on thanksgiving tells us, eucharisteo comes from the root word charis, or grace. Giving thanks is everyday grace.


So that’s it – if you have any other thoughts or tips on how you capture those little, divine sparks, do feel free to share in the comments below!

 

For more on thanksgiving, see Ann Voskamp’s New York Bestseller One Thousand Gifts. Divine Sparks by Donna Lazenby is a beautiful collection of short essays on how we find God in the everyday, and how the everyday sparks thoughts of the divine.

 

 

Just turn up

‘Sometimes’, she told me, as we sipped tea and talked across the breakfast bar, ‘it’s just about turning up. I get to the end of the day, and that’s literally all I can say that I’ve achieved. I managed to get out of my house, and sit at my desk. I turned up.’

It isn’t the most inspiring pep talk I’ve ever been given, but it is the one that sticks. The words that float back to me through the fog and cut through the long, dry months of nothingness.

Just turn up.

Just keep turning up.

These are the words that hold me fast when days slip into weeks slip into months and I am slipping slowly, slowly further down a slippery path of doubt and self criticism.

I can’t do this.

I don’t have the words.

I can’t find my voice.

I have nothing to say.

You see, when life gets tough, the easy thing to do is quit. To turn back. To give up and go back and find the easy way. I am not good at sticking, not good at knuckling down and pressing on and pressing in. But sometimes, that is just what it takes.

It doesn’t seem glamorous, to see success as just taking your seat at the table every day. Just turning up to do the task that you have been tasked with doing. We want to see progress, movement, some small indication of recognition at least. Me? I want big steps, quick wins, milestones marked off. Not every day mundane the same-ness, and struggles to make the steps that are not just tiny but practically microscopic.

I’m just not wired that way. And neither is the world we live in. Dopamine-inducing social media highs teach us that instant gratification is our right reward. We had big dreams and big visions, but when do we ever hear it preached from the pulpit, the school assembly hall, the classroom or the lecture theatre that it isn’t just big dreams and big visions we need to chase hard after, but the character, and the perseverance to see them come to pass.

The world is your oyster.

You can do anything you set your mind to.

Yes it is, and yes we can, if only we first set our minds to the faithfulness in the small things. And measure success in the turning up and sitting down sometimes.

A world champion athlete doesn’t hunt down that gold medal success with a quick blast in the gym and a jog round the park, and not every training day looks like personal bests and #goals reached.

Some days are just plain long, hard slogs.

Some days, winning is just not quitting.

Some days, it is enough to just not give up.

I’ve seen a fair few of those days. Days that look like questioning everything I’ve ever wanted and everything I thought about how to get there. Days when rejoicing in the small seems meagre and unsatisfying. But rejoice we should, because it is there that success is truly found.

They say that the sum is greater than the parts, but without those parts, there would be no sum to add up to. So keep adding those parts, and rejoicing along the way, because one day, the sum will be all the greater for it. Just turn up.

If you’ve enjoyed today’s post, please share it. If you’d like to receive new posts from me directly to your inbox, please use the subscribe button (top right) to let me know your email address, and it’d be a pleasure to stay in touch!

Stories that shape us banner

Stories that shape us

We sat in the nurses office, me with a baby on my knee and a hysterical toddler clinging to my side. The nurse eyed me and nodded. We’d exhausted all other possibilities. Taking my daughter firmly in her grasp, the nurse crouched down to eye level and tried to reason with her one more time, but Kate was having none of it. The needle appeared and she actually made a run for the door. I put the baby down and the nurse and I grappled her to the floor. Both of us, almost bodily smothering her as the needle went in and she screamed like someone was removing her insides with a spoon. It was more like a rugby scrum than a visit to the clinic. I was amazed at the strength with which that little body could fight.

She was 3 and a half. The injection was a pre-travel immunisation so that we could visit her Aunt in Brazil that summer and introduce her to her newest niece, whom she had not yet met. There was no reasoning with a child that age. We’d tried every pre-school trick in the book: Mummy had had her injection first, look how brave she was, it didn’t hurt a bit. Did Kate want a go? Could Kate be brave like Mummy? Kate shook her head forcibly and cried some more. We injected her 18 month sister, and attempted some sibling rivalry to spur her into action. There, look: Sarah can do it and she’s just a tiny baby. I am sure big brave Kate can have her injection too….

Nothing.

Point blank refusal that quickly turned to more tears and screaming.

We even injected her favourite teddy, Boris, who was just as brave as all of the other family members and set an excellent example in suffering in silence and maintaining an immovable poker face throughout his ordeal. Separated from us by her fear, nothing touched her. All of our coaxing and cajoling was to no avail, and we were running out of time. There was nothing for it but to wrestle her to the floor and get it over with. So we did.

I have no qualms about what we did – it was necessary to protect her from a whole host of nasty illnesses, and is one of the many times I have had to be the bearer of temporary pain in order to prevent long term suffering for my kids. It’s life as a parent, as many of us know.

No doubt Kate would barely have remembered it, had no one ever reminded her again. And that, I guess, is the point of today’s post. Eight years have elapsed since that horrendous Injection Incident, but we have retold the story a thousand times. To friends, to family, sometimes in Kate’s presence and sometimes not (but often, in her presence). Everyone knows of Kate’s fear of needles (despite the fact that she was 3 1/2 the last time she had a jab) as well as her almost-legendary overreactions to very small medical procedures, such as the screaming that often accompanied the removing of a plaster, or how it once took 4 adults to pin her down and remove a splinter whilst she howled like a banshee impaled on a spike.

Everyone knows, including Kate.

I’m telling you this story because yesterday, we returned to the nurse at the travel clinic in order to find out what immunisations we might need for another trip; this time to Ethiopia in October (which is another story, that I will tell you about another time). Kate has been dreading this appointment for weeks, despite my attempts to calm her with an (eventually misguided) assurance that this was just a consultation, no needles today. After chatting through all our plans, making lists and consulting guidelines, the nurse cheerily clicked her mouse on more time, shut her screen and turned to face us with a smile.

‘Right, shall we get on with it then? I have the Typhoid and Hep A injections in stock, I could do them right now.’

I looked at my 11 year old as the colour drained from her face and she shifted uneasily from foot to foot. She wasn’t ready for this. She looked petrified and like she might burst into tears any second.

I went first. Then her younger sister. She sat on my lap and gritted her teeth, knowing it was important not to show any fear or give her big sister any more reason to freak out. It was a beautiful show of sisterly love.

Then it was Kate’s turn. I smiled and winked at her.

‘You’ve got this Kate, you’ll be fine.’

She stood bravely and gave the nurse her arm, but I knew with a Mother’s instinct that she was a hairs breadth away from a full size Freak Out. I locked eyes with her and held her gaze. A flicker of pain passed across her face when the needle went in, but she didn’t run this time. Then the realisation that it was all over already sank in, and she grinned at me, pride spreading across her face that she hadn’t lost the plot and needed to be wrestled. As she’s nearly as tall as me now, I doubt we’d have been too successful had it come to that anyway.

‘That wasn’t that bad, Mum,’ she said

No, it wasn’t. And I suddenly realised that it probably wouldn’t have been half as bad for her in the run up, if we hadn’t told that story so many times over the years that it stopped being a story to her and became, instead, her reality. A label, imposed on her because of our need to raise a laugh; to bask in the warm glow of approval that comes from the contribution of a witty anecdote to an after-dinner conversation. That rises above the need of the object of said witty anecdote to be protected, afforded anonymity, or the opportunity for the funny-but-probably-personally-painful-in-some-way incident to drift away forever into the mists of time.

Kate’s Injection Incident was never afforded that luxury. Never allowed to fade away into her memory, but was instead wheeled out time and time again, becoming one of those legendary Family Stories that all of us have. Most are mildly embarrassing at worst, cringe-worthy tales that pop their heads up when new boyfriends are invited home to dinner for the first time, or that make their way into wedding speeches and raise a few inside laughs as you stare hard into your wine glass and ask God Above why he couldn’t have please given you a different family.

But some, like this one, shape you somehow. Instead of becoming who you are intended to be, your growth is shaped, stunted by The Story. Like a little bonsai, or a topiary tree. Sculpted not by experience, or real memory, but by some-one else’s retelling of it. As the realisation burned in me, I wondered how many of us pass through life like this, shaped by the stories told around us and of us and to us. Not in anger, or malice, but just with no thought as to their impact. I’ve heard it said a million times in parenting manuals, blog posts and articles in magazines; be careful what you say in front of children. They have ears like bats and memories like elephants. They are giant sponges, hoovering up every word you say, good or bad, and storing it away, good or bad. But it’s hard. Hard to resist sharing that funny story, or just plain hard to find a time when they’re not there; when the story isn’t funny, and you’re not sharing it for the laughs but because you need to, need advice or just to lessen a burden by making it not all yours.  But I will try harder, now that I have seen it play out with my own eyes, in my own child.

‘Do you think you’re still scared of needles Kate?’ I asked her later on that same evening as she sat at the breakfast bar in our kitchen.

‘No’ she shrugged, looking up at me.

‘I’m not sure you ever were, really’ I said.

‘No’ she replied again ‘I don’t think I was’.

Pure new light – a poem for Easter weekend

Header Image Pure New Light

Light creeps round the edge of the curtains, gentle steel-grey washing newness across this new day.

Pure morning light is a beautiful unsullied

blank canvas

stretching out, unmarked, unhurried

heavy-laden with opportunity

laced with forgiveness.

Today we get to start again

breathe deep and start over

forget that which is behind, and with optimism and anticipation clear as faith, press on again

towards that which we imagine with eager hope but cannot yet see with mortal eyes.

 

It seems impossible now to remember what it felt like in the dark

hues of black blue

and all it’s bruising heaviness wrapping itself around us like drowning

and we are left gasping for air, clambering for the surface and

dipping under and under and under again

no sense of time in the drowning

no sense of

tomorrow

 

Is that what it was like? To hope and not know?

To live and learn and love

and to see it gone

and not know whether it will return? whether it was all that it was meant to be.

Is that what they lived with when he was taken from them?

their friend

God

King

hunted down

handed over

hung up to die.

 

To wander in the abyss of the unknown

where time does not fit a frame

speeds up

slows down

relentless

crawling

Is a particular kind of itching torture

that brings in eager bedfellows:

doubt

fear

pain

who revel in their role in tormenting the mind already tormenting itself all well and good enough.

 

But then it comes again

rising like the morning son and washing us still all over again

that blue-grey steely hope

that never dies.

 

———————————————————————————————————————–If you’ve enjoyed today’s post, please share it. If you’d like to receive new posts from me directly to your inbox, please use the subscribe button (top right) to let me know your email address, and it’d be a pleasure to stay in touch!

 

 

 

 

Certain

There are some things I am certain of.

When everything else is in flux, and I am not sure what part of the life plan is supposed to come next, there are some things that remain.

This is the revelation that hit me as I walked; me and my dog, muddy feet and muddy paws splashing down paths as spring sprang around us in the trees. As I looked up and watched branches budding velvet silver, it was like it was writ large in the season-turning just for me. Catkins bursting into yellow flame and illuminating it all golden.

Catkins

Catkins

Trees in Spring

Because sometimes, I need to be reminded that it’s often just the shift in perspective that makes everything feel like it’s shifting from under my feet.

They say the only constant in life is death, and that nothing ever stays the same. That changes come when we least expect it and often in the most unexpected ways. Sometimes it’s good. Often it’s not. Nearly always, it can make us feel unsettled, unsure, afraid. We move house, or town or country. We change jobs. People we thought would be in our lives forever are lost, or leave, or die. Change comes in many forms and in many ways.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not good with uncertainty. Which is not a great trait for someone who is also fairly easily bored. So, if things sit still for too long, I get restless. Twitchy. Itchy-feeted in the extreme. But then when things start to move and change – unless I know the exact game plan all laid out in advance and to the T, I can feel myself again twitching, although not this time out of restlessness.

You see, I want to move on, do the next thing, and the next and the next, but I also preferably want to be certain what that next thing is. Wholly and completely and can I know it all right now please God?

It’s difficult.

And in all of that, I am so caught up in trying to make the right decision, the best decision – not only for myself now, but for our whole family unit – that I end up paralysed. ‘I’m so unsure‘ I rant. ‘I need clearer direction, clearer instructions, a more detailed map.’

I love the line from Baz Lurhmann’s ‘Sunscreen’, although it also terrifies me half to death as well.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
That never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday

I try to recall it’s wisdom as I stamp along well-trodden paths, past water-logged meadows and gaggles of geese floating on flooded fields.

Try to remember that almost certainly, worrying about what comes next, about the whys and wherefores of changes is almost always a complete and utter waste of time and energy. And as I do, I remember this too:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” ( The Bible. The book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 1 )

 

I have a faith. In a Creator God who loves me, and who holds me fast, and who works out all things for the good of those who love Him. And that faith means I am sure of what I hope for, and certain of what I do not see.

I may not know what step comes next, but I am certain that God guides my path in all righteousness.

I may not know what changes are ahead for us, but I am certain that this life will be a life well lived if I live it all for the glory of God above.

I may not know how to ‘be’ in the midst of change as well as I should, but I am certain that I am being transformed daily by the renewing of my mind, so as to be more like Christ.

There are so many things that I am certain of, and fixing my eyes on them seems to suddenly make all of the uncertainties fade to black as I tilt the lens one more time and adjust the angle of my focus. When I choose to view the uncertainties in my life through a lens of trust and obedience, the perspective shifts once more and my footing becomes sure beneath me again.

It’s the miracle of God that brings the blessing of peace to hearts that are troubled and minds that are not still.

I turn and walk back along the path, dog bounding by my side and geese hooting spring calls over the water and fields and trees.