Friday, July 9, 2010

No Guard Rail

Living in the country we have taken many drives through the Ozarks. What a beauty to behold the eye. We can be driving on a two lane road, skinny as all get out, and no guard rail to catch us if we slip off road. Sometimes all it takes is one small slip, one turn of the wheel, or one unexpected quick stop when something catches your eye, and you are sailing off the edge, praying when you hit bottom it doesn't hurt too bad. Ever been there with me?
Oh, sure, we can be driving, moving along at a good speed, no traffic to be seen, no loud noises to be heard. Just you and the open road. The wind blowing your hair as you think all is perfect, when around the corner something happens and you crash. Was it the others fault? Was it yours? Or does it even matter? Maybe it was not even an accident, but a gift to change your life course. Something to get you off that perfect road, and onto one that is not so known, but one that will take you to a greater place. Somewhere unexpected, but somewhere more beautiful than we know could exist.

On my daughter's wedding day a few years back was a day I will never forget. As she was expecting me, I was expecting her, and somehow neither of us met in the middle. As I walked into that church, a church I had never been in before, it just felt cold.I am not sure if it was all that was around me that was cold, or if it was just me feeling bitter cold. A feeling I cannot explain. It was almost as though all the hurt was there within those pews waiting on me as I sat down, only I didn't make it to sitting down. I stood there before the glass and watched my daughter in her beautiful gown, with her husband to be, getting their pictures taken. To me, she was the most beautiful bride ever, the daughter I had missed so very much. She didn't see me there, standing with tears streaming down. I needed her that day, but she needed me more. I turned to leave, got in our car and came home as my daughter began a new life.

When I left this day I felt peace in my heart. It was as though God just washed over me a peace I had never known. Was she wrong? Was I wrong? I think we were both wrong, but more so than being wrong, we were hurt, and we allowed that hurt to take over everything inside us. It was as though we were driving along and all was perfect, then we seen there was no guard rail, and went careening off the side into a deep trench that we couldn't get out of alone.

Today things are better with my daughter. She is now having a baby girl. My first grand baby. I know she will be just as beautiful as her mother. We can have children that are night and day compared to us. My daughter and I are just alike. Maybe that is one fact that brought so much friction.

After this day, a day I wish we could do over, God has changed me in many ways. That pride I had of always being right? Well, it's out the window, along with the wind that carries so much. All those opinions I just had to share? Well, they are kept in a vault and are not let lose unless asked for. All those perfect expectations? I know we are all beyond being perfect. I can't expect anymore out of another than what I am willing to give myself. And I have learned to give at whatever cost, letting go of myself and letting God's unconditional love reach to all in my life. I have learned to forgive and not to keep score. I have allowed healing in my heart. A heart that wants to hang onto the past, is now seeing what today holds and what a bright future we have if we just keep our eyes on Christ and not myself.

When we realize what is really important we seem to let go of those things that are not much easier. Sometimes we can seem to know the road we are on so well, that we lose sight of where we are. Ever drive to town, have the place pictured in your mind, get there, drive home and pull in the driveway forgetting what you passed? Not remembering really how you got home, because you were so use to the road before you, you forgot to pay attention. Sometimes life is just so very hard, and it seems as though for no reason and we get use to being on that road so much, we just don't know how to get off onto another road.

We can get so focused too on where we are and the goals ahead, that we forget to take in all the sweetness around us. Those little glimpses of beauty along the road that we are blessed to capture if we slow down long enough, taking our eyes off our self.

Sometimes we carry so much hurt, pain and anger it blinds us so that we cannot see clearly. Ever try driving down a country road with the sun shinning so brightly you can't see what's in front of you? You gotta cover your eyes of the sun to see what's before you. As we are blinded by these things they push us closer to the side of the road where that guard rail seems to be missing.

Don't allow pain and hurt to steel away today. Your life right now. Nothing is worth hanging onto hurt, anger, misunderstandings and bitterness. Instead of being bitter, we can choose to be better. Forgiveness, letting go, understanding, all these bring the simple joy of just loving those around us. Sometimes we just over analyze things. We think upon things too much and in those long moments of though we lose ourselves. We tend to make things more complicated than they are, by allowing our feelings to supersede what is really important. It's not about who is right or wrong. We can agree to disagree, and find that common ground so that life will not seem as though we are almost on the edge, but as though we are blessed to take in all the sights. And it is through all the sights I am learning God's plan and purpose for my life. I am finding myself on this bumpy road. And you know, I have learned to let go of the wheel and let God do the steering. When He is at the wheel we don't need those guard rails, He will keep us on the this crazy road of life. There will still be bumps in the road, we just have to learn not to focus on them, but on Him.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
1 Corinthians 13:13 "Three things will last forever-faith, hope and love-and the greatest of these is love."
Don't allow your life to be controlled by hurt and anger. Don't allow resentment to keep you from giving and receiving love. Time is precious. Let yesterday go and live in today. I allowed hurt to take so much away. So much that I will never gain back. I look forward to today now, forgiving of the hurt, and forgiving myself. It is through that forgiveness that I have found real contentment. Let go today, and really live like there is no tomorrow.
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