I have been on vacation for the past week. We didn’t go anywhere tropical, exotic or fancy. We stayed at home. I was quite disappointed because we planned to spend our week in Provincetown Mass, a new England village nestled between the shores of Cape Code. However, circumstances intervened and as a result P-Town was exchanged for our well-used, humble abode on Woodlawn Ave.
Circumstances can suck and as they say “Shit happens.” Some of you may know Corinne and I have undergone some life-changing events. Events that have rocked the foundations of our livilood and have stretched and frayed the threads of our sanity. We have stood at the precipice of fear and tried in vain to make sense of the senseless. While gazing into this abyss our beloved Golden Retriever of 7 years unexpectedly died. Our hearts hurt more than we could have every imagined. Eyes that once gazed into an abyss of uncertainly now glared at the finality of death. Tears as a flood bathed our eyes and thoughts of “What’s going to happen next” tormented our psyche and caused our hearts to be crippled with fear.
Fear is a two-sided coin. One side is destruction and the flip side is direction. The outcome of this game of “heads or tails” is determined by our reactions to the fear. I truly believe fear to be a crossroad where one must choose left or right. Fear can become destruction or it can become the force that leads to a new path or a catalyst that prods us in the right direction. The fear of ” losing it all” pushed us to reexamine and renew our faith in God. As a result. faith has become the life preserver we use to keep us afloat in this sea of change. The three of us, Corinne, God and I began spending our mornings together in meditation and prayer. Eventually these morning “shots of faith” became the strength that helped us get through each day. Our circumstances didn’t change but our hearts became a container of a peace we couldn’t explain.
During one of our morning devotions Corinne read from the book, “Jesus Life Coach” by Laurie Beth Jones. In this particular chapter the author explains about a certain love ritual she and God share. It began one day in her childhood when Laurie Beth made a pact with God which basically said that upon the sight of a lady bug she would be assured that He (God) was thinking of her. I was quit skeptical but non-the-less I listened as Corinne continued the story. According to the author after this pact was made visitations of a lady bug have followed her for years and often in unusual ways. Once during the dead of winter during a snow storm. These visits almost always occurred during times of sadness and despair. Joan of Arc had a similar pact with God and butterflies. It is said butterflies were often seen flying around her as she rode off into battle.
The story of the lady bug intrigued me, so one day, while praying, I simply said, “Lord…every time I see a dragonfly I will be reminded of how much you love me.” A few days passed without a sight of a dragonfly and my prayer faded in memory as other cares of the world took it’s place. Then one night, while leaving work, I felt so sad and afraid and all I wanted to get home as soon as possible. I cranked my truck and mindlessly backed it out, pressed the brake, shifted from reverse to drive and looked up to stare at a dragonfly decal on the vehicle’s windshield parked beside me. Immediately my, worried mind, with the promises of God. It felt as if Jesus was sitting by me saying, “…trust me….I love you.” The very next night I shared a table with my friends during lunch. As I ate, I quietly enjoyed their chatter and was amazed when the conversation changed to dragonflies and the good karma they represent.
All in all this has been a wonderful week of vacation. I spent a lot of time just doing things I enjoy like reading and working in my yard. So there I was, just the other day, riding my mower and carrying on a long conversation with Jesus. (I’m sure the neighbors must think me mad) Since my mind had entertained many scenarios of the future my conversation with God went something like this: ” Jesus…I’m afraid of what’s going to happen…but I know you will always be with me. Lord, if you put us “here” or if you put us “there” …if you let “this” happen or if you let “that” happen….and if we lose “this” or if we lose “that”…it will be okay…because I know you love us and hold us in your care…” During my prayer a dragonfly lighted not only once but twice upon the mowers hot, loud and rattling hood.
I felt as if my heart would explode…