I won't say I'm melancholy, nor do I have the “mean reds”. But lately I have felt a blanket of sadness enfolding my shoulders, and I have become introspective and quiet in my spirit. Perhaps it is because I have been watching the news again, and whereas I was the epitome of the phrase “ignorance is bliss” I am no longer ignorant of all that is happening in the world. And it saddens my heart to see and hear all the bad news. I would really like to shake the blanket off my shoulders and stand up and shout “Enough, already” but it isn't that simple, is it?
Since Cain killed Abel - and that was a long time ago - man has been killing and maiming their fellow man. It would be nice to think we could do like that old Coke song suggested - stand in a circle holding hands and swaying to the music as we sing about teaching the world to live in perfect harmony. All one big family! (But then, most families I know don't always get along.) But harmony doesn't seem to have a place in today's world. And the heck of it is, you and I can't make harmony happen, because we aren't in the driver's seat, we have no control - and we all want to steer, don't we? But instead, we are relegated to the back seat and we can only clench our hands together and watch the road ahead unfold before us, hoping the car stays within the lines. Especially scary is the fact there are blind curves up ahead and we're traveling way too fast!
Now that I possibly have some of you sitting there with blankets of sadness covering your shoulders too, or by now covering your heads, I will share with you what works for me when I get bowled over by life and feel like I have no control over the future. I seek God. And the seeking sometimes takes a lot of faith and a lot of prayer to accomplish. For me, I finally run smack dab into God most often when I am alone and out walking. But I have also found Him in my living room when I'm listening to the news or when I'm on the verge of slumber. Just how do I know I have found Him? It isn't because I hear a trumpet blast or anything like that announcing His presence. But it is when I stop and realize I am at peace in the midst of chaos and when I have a sense of quiet joy even when things don't look so great. It is when I ask Him for help in accepting what life places in my path or when I ask Him what do I do next, and I receive an answer in my spirit. You may be rolling your eyes at this point, but it is true. And the words I hear most often are, “Shelley, you can trust me.” And this is where my faith must kick in and I must make a choice - do I believe in that quiet voice speaking to my spirit? Do I truly believe that God is trustworthy and will lead me out from under the blanket of sadness and fear of what tomorrow might bring? Sometimes it takes me awhile, but when I finally say “Okay God, I trust you”, and I sit back in the seat and unclench my hands and accept that the driver knows where He's taking me, then I can handle the road ahead, blind curves and all. And the blanket of sadness and worry falls softly to the floor.
I have often wondered how folks who don't believe in God survive from day to day - where do they get their strength, where do they get their joy, where do they get their hope? When the world becomes too much for them, where do they turn for renewal and help? And so I pray that somewhere along the way these folks will dare to seek God - even in their unbelief. For without Him, I would never come out from under that blanket - and I would miss knowing that goodness and beauty, peace and harmony, and especially hope truly do exist in this ever changing and often scary world. Amen
Boise City News