Great Pain clarifies a Greater Joy

This week has been pretty difficult for me.  The last of a bunch of doors to close is being shut quicker than I can move out of the way, and it feels that at times I may be crushed by the closing….
I stood this Sunday, at the bottom of the farm drive, feeling a storm behind me and seeing blue skies before me.  The wind swept strongly around me, and I closed my eyes, soaking up the windy fragrance of memory. Breathing in deep, the swell of God’s faithfulness filled me.  There we stood, family that has been divided at times but has been always brought together, meeting here in this place for more years than one can count. Looking around, so much has changed…the barns drooping with age, the silos echo in their hollow souls, the stalls no longer fit to feed the herd but for feeding the imagination to what has been.  The shadows of time played across the walls, bringing back to mind silhouettes of milking and hiding and building forts, of new birth and discovery. Holiday savoring, new friend welcoming, sweet crumbles baking, family holding, tragedy bearing & love extending…this is how we will remember, this is how we will recall.
Through this, I wonder if it isn’t the act of treading through a great pain that allows one to see clearer the joy in blessings that have been and will be given.  There have been so many doors that have closed, that now when I see a crack in one, I delight myself merely in the possibility of hope. It is like the person who takes for granted the morning phone calls that one receives, until the phone calls stop.  It is then that the person realizes how much they miss the calls & the person calling, so that when they receive another morning call from a thoughtful friend, the person revels in the joy that it brings. 
A song came on the radio while I was working on putting farm things away, and the words were “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers, Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care, Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” (Garth Brooks)
It’s hard for me to thank God right now for not keeping the farm in our family, but even though we are having to let it go it’s more clear now just how blessed we were to have had that place in our family for so long, and to have experienced all the joys we did in that one place that we’ve always called home.
While I mourn the finality of being the last of many generations to grow up on this land & in this home, this is what I will choose to cling to: I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.” (Psalm 89:1-2)  This reminds me that God’s faithfulness is not linked to the homestead, but in Heaven itself, so no matter where we are, His faithfulness will remain.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23) “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:23)


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