Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Treasure Beneath

Tackling spring cleaning can be a daunting task, but tackling the small and packed bedroom of two daughters who are self-proclaimed collectors can be downright terrifying. When those daughters are 6 years apart in age you can be assured that the collections are many and varied.

Clothing, dolls, books, yarn, tin cans, ponies, hats and yes, Christmas decorations......and that is only what I am looking at from the doorway. Dresser piled high, wall hooks so full that it only appears to be a wall of clothing, bags and jump ropes. Assorted tiny brushes, doll clothes, strings and many unnamed items lurk about on the floor.

After repeated unsuccessful attempts to get the sisters to work together on this chore, their mother finally steps in and begins a long overdue purge. I must say that one of the aforementioned sisters does try to maintain order, but the younger is a hard-nosed messy. The bedroom inevitably becomes a battleground. Please do not think that I am giving up on teaching my children to clean up after themselves. I am not; however, there are times when it is beneficial to stop issuing orders, roll up your sleeves and work with them.

I guess that time has come.

Some things are easy to handle.....well, maybe not easy.....the clothes that the younger is so quickly outgrowing SHOULD go directly into the bag headed for Goodwill again. But then.....this mother thinks of all the times her baby has worn that outfit, and mourns the inevitable changes that it signals.

It SHOULD be easy to quickly weed out the useless, cheap toys (i.e. happy meal prizes), but then I think of all the times I see them playing happily with the cheapo toys and not even noticing the more expensive, higher quality toys sitting close by. (I have given up trying to understand what will fascinate my children's imaginations.)

Okay. So maybe their mother has some issues too.

I weed. I sort. I throw....a little.

As I tackle the drawers of the dresser that they share I pull out clothing that I had forgotten about.

"What about this pair of pants?" I ask my older daughter.

"Oh yeah, I forgot about those," she replies sheepishly.

"I don't remember this outfit either," I say.

"I got that when I was in Maine, but I just didn't see them in my drawer so I forgot about them."

Half jokingly and half to show her that I do not want to hear that she has no clothes, I have her change into a pair of capris that still has tags on them. What do you know....they fit and they're cute.

"Its amazing what you can find when you actually look in the drawer, Daughter," I joke with the girl who is soon to be looking down at me.

Later I was thinking about the purging process and how so often it becomes about getting rid of the junk....a necessary task. But the exciting part of it is the treasures that you can find when the junk is moved.

Everyone has junk. We call it "baggage". No one really wants it, but it becomes part of who we think we are, so we hang on. The funny thing is that when we are finally persuaded to let go of some particular baggage, we quite often can find a piece of ourselves that we had forgotten was there. Many times it is a valuable piece.....of so much more value than the other that was hiding it.

Perhaps we look at it in surprise and say, "I thought that was just part of my past. I didn't even know it had a place in my present." Talents, hobbies and gifts of many kinds are kept safely by our Lord for a time when we will be ready to use them again. For there are no mistakes in His plan. The dreams he gave as a child, the talents that were nurtured for a time and then forgotten.....these are kept in Heavenly hands.

We have occupied our lives studying the "baggage" we have collected and have missed the treasures sitting close by. As we respond to His leading and remove or let go of the baggage we can begin to see all the treasures He has stored for us.

I imagine His gentle smile as He reveals the gifts of our past.

"See here, my child. Will you remember this gift I gave you so long ago? I have held it for you. You thought it was gone, but I did not give it, to take it away. Take it now and use it for me. I will multiply it and bless it, if you will only accept it back again with full understanding of where it has come from."

"And the LORD said unto him, 'What is that in thine hand?' And he said, 'A rod.'" (Ex. 4:2)

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always have all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" (II Cor. 9:7,8)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hope Springs New

The sun beats down again. Spring breezes play in the branches of the trees. Nearly a year has completed it's turn since I first met here in this place to share my life with those who dare to share in it.

There have been weeks that have given rise to many and varied thoughts. At other times it seems there has been a total lack of sharing and the place becomes stale without the people breath within. During those times I think of entering, but for one reason or another choose not to share of myself.

Too often my mind becomes clouded with so many thoughts and emotions that to sort them out for sharing seems an insurmountable task. Individual thoughts and ideas need time to grow into some sort of fruit before they can be shared for any good.

With the return of the sun, the breeze and new life, perhaps I become more able to share here with you. Spring speaks of hope....of reasons to press on. The emotional pain of winter begins to fade as the light of physical hope shines around us. As the crusted soil breaks open to share slivers of green with the world above, I see and am encouraged. I ask the Lord to open the heart of this one, that His light may shine.

This same cycle continues as it has since the beginning. Winter always gives way to hope. Our Father will never leave us in the winter....thank-you, Father.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;.......A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and time to speak;"

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time." (Ecc. 3:1-4,7,11a)