This Scripture has always resonated with me. None of us know whether tomorrow will be success or disaster, contentment or disappointment, joy or sorrow. What we do know is that beyond our earthly vision, our earthly horizon, lies a God who loves us— a God who showed His love by his living Son.
“God has not promised to take away our trials, but to help us change our attitudes toward them.” Fr Richard Keating
And so, challenging as it is, we can live joyfully with the known and the unknown.
After the annual Judicial Conference at Salishan on the Oregon coast south of Lincoln City, Meg and I drove a few miles down the coast to Boiler Bay, an overlook that provides spectacular views of the ocean’s power. I took these pictures from inside the car, through my open window. Even with the car’s protection, rain still blew in over me and the camera. Nonetheless, the waves were an endless source of drama and excitement. It was difficult to leave and return to “ordinary” scenery of fall leaves as we traveled east across the coast range to home.
I have two pictures of gulls in the storm, with two different backdrops. We are always astounded to see how these creatures manage to find calm spots in the storm.
Watching a storm off the Oregon coast with Meg, I was mesmerized by the power of wind and waves. I could not comprehend the surging strength of this elemental nature. I wanted to be moving, swimming, carried in it. To think, the God who created the sea and earth also created something as small and insignificant as I. And yet, despite our infinitesimal size and strength, He carries each of us through storms that we cannot navigate or fathom alone.
“Use the things of the world, but long for the things of eternity. You cannot be fully satisfied by material possessions, for you are simply not made to gain ultimate happiness from them” Thomas a Kempis
I need to remember always that life is eternal, and the “trinkets” I earn or desire are transitory.
Really, when all is said and done, when the eulogies are given and the will probated and the estate closed, out identity is the same as it always has been and will continue to be–in God alone and in his living Word/Son, Jesus Christ. In this life, we do not attain some sort of “moral worthiness” in God’s eyes. Rather it is relationship, absorbing and sharing His love and justice, in a way that does not “earn” but rather “returns” what we have received.
I realize how much of my life is defined by whom my ego-I “chooses” to be. I am content with MY definition of myself. I forget that it is God’s choice, God’s call of who I will be. And His call is for my perfection in love, no matter how I try to limit Him.
“The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us.” CS Lewis
I so often find my challenge is to let go of all the transient pleasures that distract me. Only then can I make space for God and His Word. Mother’s Day is a good time to take time to reflect on what has been most important in our lives.
Meg had never seen the southern Oregon coast south of Florence and I had not be there since 1979. So, with winter to an end, our early spring vegetables starting to grow, and other volunteer activities at a lull, we decided to take off and visited this area. We enjoyed staying in a yurt at Honeyman State Park south of Florence, and a cabin at Cape Blanco State Park south of Coos Bay. We were glad for the heat inside these facilities. The mornings were windy with a temperature of forty, so we did not have to contend with the cold.
The scenery is exceptional. Cape Blanco is considered the western most point in the contiguous United States. Its lighthouse was established in 1870. Interestingly enough, here is an excerpt about this lighthouse location from Wikipedia: In Jules Verne‘s early science fiction book The Begum’s Millions, a Utopian community named Ville-France is established in 1872 on the South Oregon beach. Verne gives the location of this fictitious community as “eighty kilometres north of Cape Blanco”. Shore Acres State Park is located southeast of Coos Bay. The former estate of a civic minded timber man, real estate developer, Louis Simpson, it is lovingly maintained by the Parks division of the State, and is particularly beautiful in the spring.
“How do we know about God’s love, God’s generosity, God’s kindness, God’s forgiveness? Through our parents, our friends, our teachers, our pastors, our spouses, our children … they all reveal God to us. But as we come to know them, we realise that each of them can reveal only a little bit of God. God’s love is greater than theirs; God’s goodness is greater than theirs; God’s beauty is greater than theirs.
At first we may be disappointed in these people in our lives. For a while we thought that they would be able to give us all the love, goodness, and beauty we needed. But gradually we discover that they were all signposts on the way to God.” Henri Nouwen