Do You See the Beauty?

Today has been a day filled with many emotions.

I learned that a loved brother-in-law returned home to his Heavenly Father this morning. He discovered only three weeks ago that he had a type of cancer. Not feeling ill, he and his wife went with a daughter to New York state, the other side of the country from him, to settle business for his brother. He returned home in time to feel sick. The hospital sent him home to hospice care about three days ago. The family was told he would not recover. This morning, he moved from this life to the next, leaving the rest of us behind.

We live about five hours away and knew his life was near to ending. We planned to head up to visit him one last time after church on Sunday. I had purposely left the Internet closed on my computer this morning to get some editing done on my next book. When I opened it, I discovered this good man had lost the battle.

After calling his sister, and sharing condolences and sorrow with her, my husband needed to do something, go somewhere, so we went for a ride to our local National Conservation Area, Red Rock Canyon. This is a beautiful loop drive, with stops for hikes and overlooks. Today, however, we just drove through, slowly, enjoying the beautiful mountains, rocks, trees, cactus, and plants. I even saw a rabbit run across the road. As we drove through this beautiful area, my phone played music praising God for his wonders through our radio. It filled us with joy.

God, in His majesty, filled us with joy and understanding of His plans for us. Each of us will leave this world at some point in our future. Some, like my brother-in-law, will find that his future no longer includes the pains and sorrows of this earth. Many more of us will continue through this life for many days and years.

Some of us will drive through the beauty of the earth and miss it, swallowed up in our own sorrows and griefs. Others, like my father, will look at the desolate desert and find a flower, the darkening sky and see hope for moisture, or the loss of loved ones and see blessings and hope for that person.

On days like today, when it would be easy to see only the clouds and the sorrows, I am grateful to hear beautiful music and see colorful mountains and growing plants, reminding me that life will continue. What is important is what I do with it.

What will you do with your life? Seek the shadows or look for the shining sun behind the clouds? What sorrows do you face today?

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Who Do You Honor This Mothers Day?

Happy Mothers Day to the women who are reading this.

Some moms are already posting pictures on social media of the flowers their children have given them. My husband bought me a beautiful plant. (I hope I can keep this one alive.) I have also noticed many women who vent their feelings of frustration, anger, and sorrow about the coming Sunday when we celebrate our mothers.

Those who aren’t mothers yet, or who haven’t been able to become mothers, for whatever reason, speak of their embarrassment when wished a Happy Mothers Day. Or sorrow, or grief, or regret, or … The emotions vary as widely as the women who do not (yet) have children and are not (yet) mothers.

Other women feel guilt because they aren’t the perfect mothers you read about in the Mothers Day card section or the songs the children sing. (I always cringed at the “Your happy smiling face”. For some reason, I didn’t alwyas feel like smiling.) Perfection just isn’t possible, but moms feel guilty because they haven’t yet achieved it.

Some women struggle with Mothers Day because their relationships with their own mothers isn’t as good as it could be. Or they feel sad because the relationship with their mom or stepmom ended with the death of their mothers.

Ad infinitum. The grief and sorrow continues with multiple variations of all these excuses and more. Many women struggle to find any joy or honor on the day set apart to honor mothers and women.

Believe it or not, I’ve had all those feelings burn in my heart and soul. Yes, I now have children and grandchildren, but I went through a painful time when I wondered if I would ever be a mother and hear my little ones sing, “Mother dear I love you so.”

I am blessed to still have my mother here with us. She’s now 86, and in general good physical and mental health. Not many women my age can say that. I’m grateful that I can go visit her on Sunday.

This Mothers Day, I am thinking of our first mother, Eve. She struggled with her children and grandchildren who didn’t always listen or do as they were asked. They made choices contrary to those she would have chosen. They caused her hurt feelings and great sorrow. I can only imagine how sad a Mothers Day would have been for her in the years after Cain killed Abel. Such sorrow!

Still, I look to her in gratitude as our first mother and thank her for taking that one step, eating that fruit or whatever it was that caused her to be ejected from the Paradise that was Eden. She did it to give us life, for until she did that, she and Adam were alone in the garden and no new life was created. I am grateful for her willingness to leave that perfect place so we could have life.

So, this mothers day, I honor Eve.

What about you mothers? Who do you honor and remember this year? I’d love to hear your stories if you struggle, if you are sad, or if you are grateful to be with your mom or … I’d love to hear.

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