Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Stand Straight in the Wind

Windmill by new friend I met at Starbucks this morning while writing this blog. Click on photo for more info!

Windmill by new friend I met at Starbucks this morning while writing this blog. Click on photo for more info!

Yesterday was windy.

It swept my hair up and over my face. It opened my handbag and threatened to remove anything that wasn't zipped in. People clutched their jackets tight to their necks and leaned over, squinting and moving fast to get from their cars to their next destinations. It was loud, dusty and frustrating.

When I got home, I was relieved to get inside, made a hot cup of coffee, sat down to do some reading and found this: 

"Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love even more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a stronger plant.  Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can STAND STRAIGHT IN YOUR PAIN and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds."  Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love.

Yesterday, no one stood straight in the wind. We all clutched tightly, winced, bent over and tried to escape it. So I thought, what would it be like to stand straight in the wind? Or in our pain?

We would have to believe that we could stand, that it wouldn't overpower us and that we were strong enough to take the full force of it. We'd have to be willing to feel the chill, the uncomfortable feeling of wind and pain and instead of trying to avoid it, embrace it and face it somehow. 

I remember when I realized that Endometriosis was a chronic illness and that pain wouldn't ever really go away. I remember the chill of that moment, the reality of what it meant. It had been seven surgeries, multiple tests and procedures. I had been fighting with God, begging and bargaining with him to take it away, remove it from my story, "then I can get on with my life" I would say to God. But then I heard a gentle voice, not audible, just a deep sense in my soul that God was speaking. "This IS your life and I am in it, I will help you." I cried . . . deeply, with grief and relief that perhaps my internal battle was over. 

Twenty years later, I still have pain but God's words have been true. He has been with me, given me purpose and meaning within the pain, strength and endurance, patience, joy and the ability to love and be loved. I have peace and contentment and am learning what it means to be deeply rooted and grounded in Him, which means that the wind doesn't seem so strong anymore.

As you face your own challenges this week, God can help you stand straight in the wind! May you find your strength in Him!

* As a side note, I wrote the title for my blog, closed my laptop, asked the gentleman next to me to watch my things while I went to the washroom and when I came back we started chatting. He's a machinist, a designer and an author. I never got around to writing while I was there. When I got home, I sat down to write my blog and started searching for images of a windmill - remembering that my new friend designed, built and photographed a windmill. So with his permission, I'll use this photo and give him a shout-out too.