You’ve seen this windmill before if you’re a regular reader. It’s located right on the outskirts of Les Trois-Moutiers, in France’s Vienne department. Today’s pic however was taken on my way home from Angers the other day as the fast-fading afternoon sun lit it up in almost an eerie, golden glow.
There’s no filter on this pic… the lighting is as it was that afternoon and if you look toward the bottom, you’ll also see that the grass along the roadway is slightly blurred. Taken together, it makes it a pretty good illustration of today’s post.
We’re all in various stages of school break this week. The boys are winding up their second week, Soph is coming to the end of her one and only week and one of my schools in on break this week (the second is next week – meaning that I’m really only 1/2 on vacation both weeks).
It means a little less running and a little more breathing. The boys helped me with Spring cleaning in the garage & the yard yesterday (you men know what I’m talking about!) and the garbage run to the recycling center was particularly satisfying.
I’ve also been working on a little project involving petit-point and blackwork embroidery, two things I’ve always been impressed by. I’ll show the finished project when completed but for now, doing a thread or two a day has helped things move forward and have allowed me space to think. The rose takes me back to summer and my favourite rose… Pierre de Ronsard (Eden rose in the USA) and the blackwork offers a therapeutic repetetive action with no thread colour changes.
As I write this today (Thursday), my head’s in a bit of a spin and there’s extra thought to be processed after getting some shocking news yesterday. A 38 year-old friend from back home is in palliative care and has only been given days to live.
How does one even process that?
I’ve known this young man since he was in his late teens. I’ve seen him pray with fervour, worship with enthusiasm, and laugh like mad. In only a short time his life has been turned around and, for all intents and purposes, given a tentative expiry date (at least in this life).
Oddly enough, Monday, on my way home from Angers I was listening to a podcast where the question was asked “If you knew you only had 10 years to live, what would you stop doing?”
What if 10 days even looked like a long shot?
There are times when living on the other side of the ocean is especially painful & this is one of those times. There will undoubtedly be others so I suppose I’d better get used to casting these cares on the Lord, when it is out of our ability to do anything in-person.
Knowing all of the well intentioned answers and all of the things that one says in an attempt to comfort, also comes with the knowledge that they aren’t ever quite enough to diminish someone else’s hurt in the moment.
Still, and perhaps this is the paradox of faith, we try to offer what can feel like strange light in the midst of dark times: strange because it doesn’t look like what the world has come to offer / expect, but light because faith means hope and hope is light in darkness… it’s a sure path forward.
Faith allows me to put one foot in front of the other, when I really feel like just sitting on the edge of the road, unable to move at all. Rather than finding myself in the middle of a field with no clear way forward, faith allows me to distinguish a definite path, defined by lines and borders which, if I’ll stay inside of them, will take me to the next intersection, the next town and eventually, my final destination… but I have to stay of the road.
Staying in the confines of the road does remove some of the options, but it also pretty much guarantees that I won’t get stuck in the mud. On the upside, it also removes some of the decisions… I can go, to some extent, on auto-pilot, like when you travel a well-known road and find you don’t really have to think about the route… you know it.
That last photo is a a photo of Sainte-Gemmes-sur-Loire (near Angers), looking across two successive fields.
Yes, you read that right… fields.
Winter flooding have buried the fields, but they’re still there, just waiting for the flood waters to recede.
The road of faith in a loving, caring God carries you to your destination, even when floodwaters feel like they have you surrounded and going under.
Stay on the road.
Biblical Food for Thought
- Our comfort comes from the Lord.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 1 Corinthians 1.3-5
- Paul attempted to stay strong in spite of difficult times.
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; …5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 1 Corinthians 6.3-10
- Ultimately… Paul said:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1.21
Re. that last one… yeah, I know… easier in theory than in practice. Easier when it’s somebody else that you or someone to love… especially if you can’t quite imagine life without that person.
I don’t have any other answer than: Stay on the road. I’ll cry with you. He is faithful.
- “the Lord, who is faithful” Isaiah 49.7
- “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1.9
- “No temptation (trial) has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10.13
- “He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5.24
- “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3.3
- “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Philippians 10.23