Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fallen trees, illness, and blessings in afflictions

After a rainy week in February, I wrote that when life gives you mud puddles, look at what is reflected above. This past week, with thunder and lightening crashing and flashing almost nightly, that metaphor proved very appropriate.

The night of a particularly big storm, I decided by "happenstance" to not park in my usual spot. The next morning I saw a splintered limb sprawled out exactly where I typically park my car. The speed and height of the tree limb hurtling down would have definitely caused damaged - if not crushed - my car.

My car next to the fallen limb
This experience caused me to wonder how many other every day choices, like where I park my car, are opportunities to see blessings. This instance was a blatant blessing, but in what other daily decisions do I need to pause and give thanks?

For example, last week I had a virus that made me very fatigued and forced me to stay in bed the majority of the week. On top of being sick, John was out of town all week on a business trip, so I was also missing him. Yet even in this affliction, I experienced so much blessing, and was once again reminded of the blessing of living in community.

Throughout the week, my friends (who are also my neighbors) checked in on me, sat on the couch and drank tea with me, and called and texted me to make sure I didn't need anything. I also had a friend who had me over twice in one week to her house for dinner - such a blessing considering I didn't always have the energy to cook.

Not only did these touch points with friends offer me love and encouragement, but the blessing of true  community offered healing as well. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, my friends offered me the opportunity to let others share in my struggle and take joy in connecting with friends and taking part in their lives.

I share these stories with you to encourage you to see the blessings in your own afflictions, allow others to be a blessing to you, and to be a blessing to others during their adversities. As the following passage shows, our endurance and encouragement comes through living in community with our neighbors:

"We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up... May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." -Romans 15:1-7

No comments:

Post a Comment