A hand to hold when you need it

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Enjoying the shade of a Sycamore tree

It had been ages since I went hiking.  I was on my first visit to Arizona, and was excited to see the local flora and fauna up close.  My brother and sister-in-law suggested an easy trail in a state park nearby.

Trying to avoid the heat, we embarked on a mostly-shaded path that wound near a stream.  I marveled at my first sight of a Sycamore tree and its pale jigsaw-puzzle bark.  My sister-in-law and I couldn’t resist breaking into an old Sunday School song:

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man; a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a Sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see!”

I could visualize Zacchaeus scurrying up one of the sturdy appendages of a Sycamore tree to get a better view of Jesus.

A bit further, I posed by a massive Yucca plant, taking care to avoid its pointy leaves.  Later, I heard the grass rustle and caught a glimpse of a quick-moving lizard (I was glad it wasn’t a rattlesnake)!  As we rounded a bend, we came to a bridge and spotted several deer foraging along the creek bed.  IMG_20170522_104234 (2)

After quietly snapping a few photos, we finished the crossing.  Though it was a fairly long bridge, the sturdy guard rails made me feel secure.

The next bridge, however, was a different story. 

Continue reading “A hand to hold when you need it”

Staying afloat during a tidal wave of transition

A couple of months ago I shared the post, “When life changes – but you don’t want to.”

In it I described how a treasured boss would be retiring, and shared a few tips for coping with impending change.

th[2]This month the tsunami of transition came crashing down with full force.

Perhaps I was naïve to think I might have a few days (or even weeks) of calm after my boss’s last day to grieve and re-group before my world turned upside down.

That first morning, I quietly entered his bare office and was overcome with emotion.  The pain felt very much like when I visited  my father’s vacant home after he died.

I wasn’t alone in my struggles.  There was a subdued mood across campus, and a teary-eyed co-worker said it felt like the “heart” had gone out of the building.

Yet at 10:30 a.m. that morning, before we even had a chance to dry our eyes, we received the announcement.  Our new college president had been appointed and would begin in six weeks.

Instantly, the mantra became “moving forward.”

The world as I knew it shifted, and the flood waters of change rapidly rose around my ankles.

Continue reading “Staying afloat during a tidal wave of transition”

Why the election results won’t scare me

th10The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”  Most of us have heard this phrase from the famous folk tale “Chicken Little.” After an acorn strikes his head, the startled bird flutters about frantically, trying to warn everyone of impending doom.  Versions of the story exist in numerous cultures and go back centuries.

The 2016 United States presidential election has been  rife with Chicken Little claims, from both the candidates and their passionate supporters.

“If (insert candidate) is elected, then surely (insert calamity/tragedy) will happen.”

I’ll admit, I’ve had my moments of anxiety throughout this presidential campaign. I am both incredulous and dismayed that the best our electoral process could produce is the two candidates we have to choose from.

I’ve even whispered, “God help us if so-and-so is elected!” Continue reading “Why the election results won’t scare me”

A cancer survivor’s perspective: the difference between faith and trust

My best friend from college, Kelly, is a two-time cancer survivor.  Breast cancer first struck her at the young age of 31.  Kelly was a mom of two small boys and a new missionary in Africa when she discovered a lump.  The diagnosis changed the course of her family’s lives, as they had to leave their overseas post and move back to the United States for Kelly’s treatment.

The dreaded disease returned fourteen years later.  This time, Kelly faced a much more aggressive treatment regimen, including a mastectomy and chemotherapy.  The side effects of chemo decimated her, both physically and emotionally.

In God’s mercy, she eventually recovered and has now been cancer-free for eight years.  Nevertheless, she understandably still battles anxiety when it’s time for her periodic checkups.  She knows there’s always a chance the doctor could deliver bad news. Continue reading “A cancer survivor’s perspective: the difference between faith and trust”

Is singleness a tragedy?

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I finally got the courage to approve the comment.  It was written in response to a post I published some time ago about feeling left behind in the marriage department. The reader incorrectly interpreted that I was making light of my struggle, and wrote, “Please don’t refer to heartfelt sadness as a ‘pity party.’ To leave this earth without marriage and family is a tragedy for too many people.”

While she missed the overall intention of the post, which was to celebrate how God helped me focus on the blessings in my life, what continued to gnaw at me was her statement that being single is a tragedy.

If what she wrote is true, then nearly half of the adult population in the United States [1] are living  tragic lives.

To put it more bluntly, it means my life is a tragedy! Continue reading “Is singleness a tragedy?”