So, the last couple weeks have been more stressful than normal at work. We're changing compensation models; we are looking at the budget for next year; we are under pressure to cut costs and be more efficient, and quite frankly, morale on the part of my colleagues is in the dumps.
On more than one evening, I have found myself tearful discussing my day with my family. My kids are asking why I am coming home from work so upset. Joe is asking why I keep doing this. And, I have been asking myself the same thing.
Funny how God has used His creation to adjust my perspective.
Two weekends ago, we had that opportunity to get away to the beach for a few days. Despite the total entertainment of my children (see my recent Facebook post about things you should never hear yourself say: @carmenteagueauthor), I had a few moments of profound solitude. We went to the beach every day, and three of those days, I took the opportunity to just walk on the beach alone. Well, alone is relative, but I took a walk without the entourage of my family. I tried to escape into the sound of the waves rolling on the shore, the chirping of the sea gulls, and the warm breeze caressing my skin. It was profoundly soothing. Each day, the ocean was very different. The first day, the waves were strong and crashing (great for boogie boards but not so much body surfing... sand in all of your crevices). The second day, the waves were calm and serene (but not so great for the kids who wanted to be tossed to and fro). The third day was a mixed of both, depending on the change of the tide. On that third night of the beach trip, I opened my daily Bible reading to Psalms 89:5-9:
“The heavens praise your wonders, Lord, your faithfulness too . . . Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Your rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.”
Somehow listening to those waves was a resounding statement of God's power to get me through the tumultuous times happening at work.
A few days later, we got a wild hair and decided to drive to South Carolina to see the total eclipse. We initially thought being here in Charlotte was good enough. But, the kids pitched a fit and begged to go to the 100% eclipse zone. I sat Tattie down at the computer, and she called 15 hotels until we found one place with a cancellation that could accommodate our crew of seven. We then called some good friends who live just outside of Anderson and begged to sit in their backyard and watch the eclipse.
I'd never seen an eclipse, and I really didn't know what to expect. Our friends live on 7 acres in a fairly rural area. As we sat in their backyard on lounge chairs staring up at the sky, I was not prepared for what I saw and heard. As the moon totally eclipsed the sun and complete darkness fell upon us, I was overwhelmed with the cacophony of tree frogs, crickets and cicadas. The crescendo was amazing, and it was completely unexpected. I watched their dogs run around like banshees through the yard completely confused with the darkness. And, I was shocked by the appearance of lightning bugs glowing around us!
The total darkness lasted about a minute and a half. And, it was loud! As we stared at the sun through our special glasses, I was also mesmerized by the corona (irregularly shaped pearly glow) around the sun. It looked like the sun was dancing with a blue twinkle. The end of the eclipse was by far, however, my favorite. Just as the moon slid past the edge of the sun there was truly an explosion of blue light. It looked as if sparks flew across the sky and light beams fill the air. As this was happening, I felt as if an orchestra conductor quieted the roar of the insect symphony. In the same way they had crescendoed into music, they quieted back to silence.
It was powerful and beautiful.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve thought a lot about the displays of God's incredible power in creation through the ocean and the eclipse. I feel like it’s dark and there's a symphony of chaos around me. My kids are in a tizzy going back to school. One of my girls had a terrible school year last year and has been weeping nightly in my room, dreading going back. The other is starting high school and is jacked up beyond belief. The boys are always the boys. They are constantly wrestling around in the floor, taking the house down with them. And then there's work which feels like a one wave crashing right after another (getting lots of sand in the crevices).
Sometimes joy is eclipsed by so many demands and expectations. And, sometimes joy is drowned by the waves of life crashing around us. My joy was dimmed. Yet, through God’s creation, I’ve been reminded of God’s power. The most beautiful part of the eclipse was at the end of the darkness and during the loudest screaming of creation. And, the best and calmest waves were right after the most violent ones before the tide change. In just a short week, I’ve seen the heavens, and the waves, just praise His name.
I want to remind my patients, colleagues and family of those bursts of light on the backside of the eclipse and those calm waves at the turn of the tide. I want to shed light in darkness, to bring joy to sadness, and to promote healing to brokenness.
Help me to get through the eclipse.
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