Perhaps it has slowly started to sink in.
He twists his head anxiously from side to side in a matter that shows his unease as the cable line sways briefly in the wintry wind of the day. Mister Bird is singing gladly for the sunshine, but wonders where to find his day’s meal beneath the freshly fallen snow. Perhaps this wind will sweep aside some snow to reveal previously fallen snacks before the white blanket fell. Or maybe he will journey to the next house where seed has been placed before him in expectation of his uncertain arrival. Rather than sitting and fretting over the possible outcomes of a quest for food, Bird swiftly takes flight for the sake of survival.
I wonder to what extent my life within the last eighteen months can relate to such a descriptive picture. How do I react to the night’s offering of blanketed snow, or the whispers of wind that threaten my balance on the otherwise unsteady wire?
There have been times where I most certainly have perched upon that high-strung cable using everything within me to try and maintain a moderate balance. Even the slightest breeze threatened my position and I mimicked the actions of the bird in my unease, ceasing to keep my head from twisting from the left to the right and back again. In a very literal way, to not know where I was going to find my food could be a matter of anxiety. Of course I have always been the recipient of provision, but that does not mean that I lived in comfort of knowing that I was fully taken care of from day to day.
I know full well that I have taken many things in my life for granted on the whole. And there are occasions where those same many things are put into perspective. One of those monumental moments in my life would be September 28, 2008. That day I experienced loss in such a knee-crippling way… the kind of loss that sends you straight to the floor in shock and hysterics. So much of loss starts in disbelief. But I am confident to this day that it was this loss that put me back into perspective… to wrestle with the loss of a dear friend is an experience that vividly paints for you a picture of who you are to other people. For I couldn’t help but look back on who she was in my life… which only led me to wonder who I was in the lives of others.
Maybe I should back up a bit.
The year leading up to this monumental moment in life was one of hardship. Not so much in the “I’m-starving-and-have-no-house” kind of way, but more in the spiritual and emotional realm, which of course plays itself out physically as well. Yes, I was living in a house with two of my favorite girlfriends and was right next door to several of my best guy-friends. And yes, I had an awesome puppy and so very many amazing friends to surround myself with at the time. Yes, my family loved me and yes, I found a way to get loans to be in college and always went with food on my plate (no matter how much or little). Shoot, I even had a student-management position at my job. But no matter how much I was taken care of physically… I was still hurting emotionally and spiritually. The details of such matters are to be left for a book someday, but all in all, I watched myself step from solid ground onto a shaky wire with little stability.
I experienced true failure for the first time in my life. I failed five classes at once.
I faced financial stresses that left me wondering where groceries were going to come from the next days, weeks, and months.
I struggled with my own identity in understanding who I wanted to be in light of who I was… or rather, I struggled with being who I wanted to be.
And then the phone call came. That September afternoon altered my thoughts and actions towards so many things in life at the time. Not that any theologies or theories or beliefs were turned on their head, but rather just a shift in perspective. I was knocked into action. So as I re-shifted my balance to recognize that God truly is in control of every little moment of my day, I have allowed for Him to provide in very unique and reassuring ways.
In the same manner as the bird on the wire, I once sat on an unsteady wire anxiously wondering where the provision was going to come from for that moment. But to shift perspective and realize that whether it’s just hiding beneath the current circumstances, or is already laid out for me just a few houses down, I know that somewhere, somehow, I will be taken care of when it comes down to it. (And I was.)
I once got an anonymous flower in the mail with an envelope of cash and a card that simply reminded me that ‘God will provide.’ He certainly has.
I prayed for clear direction for a job and house and where to move in December, and that was laid before me with a house opportunity in Lancaster, PA and a job offer in that area at Starbucks.
I sat down and wrote out goals and schedules and papers for classes to keep me in line, on task and absolutely focused…
I received my diploma, showing I officially graduated with a B.A.
I also received a letter acknowledging that I made the Dean’s List my last semester.
I have struggled continuously with finances, but through prayer, God always shows that He is in control and taking care of me… down to every needed penny, for rent, bills, and groceries.
These may seem like small issues to some, but they are huge reminders to me that God is my Provider. So rather than sitting and twisting my head anxiously from side to side, I am able to take flight, swiftly singing out my praises, and confidently know that wherever I land… I will have what I need.
( In case anyone didn’t pick up on it… I’m doing really well these days. )