Monday, December 2, 2013

Looking for Love... Rocks in my Head?

One day this week as I went to watch the sunset, a number of life circumstances were weighing on my mind. Instead of walking continuously along the shores of our new 'Lake Beach', I decided to sit in one place and let my mind rest. It gave me time to ponder and listen to the still small voice instead of concentrating on where to put my feet, and what was around the corner.
So as I picked a tree stump for my perch, I waited quietly as the sun began to paint the surrounding atmosphere, closing my eyes temporarily and breathing in the peace. Then I opened my eyes and glanced down at the little pebbly beach next to me. There was a tiny little pink heart stone. Collecting 'Nature's hearts' has long been a hobby of mine, and this one was so cute, so perfect!
I picked it up and photographed it against the backdrop of a white rock to emphasize its pinkness.
Then I realised there were many pink stones in amongst the gravel right beside me. True, not in the shape of a little heart, but bearing the same quality and colour as my little, freshly found love rock. The entrance for an object lesson from God!
Inspired by a thought forming slowly in the back of my mind, I began to collect the pink and red stones and place them in a heart shape on the ground. Some tumbled from the pile, so I added a stick boundary... in the shape of a heart. 

Now I usually avoid the contrived photos of not-so-natural Nature's Hearts that I regularly come across on the web. Give me one that has occurred without human intervention any day! This little project I had begun seemed to go against my ideals, yet as I continued I knew what it was the Spirit was showing me.
It helps to have a definition of contrived.... "deliberately created rather than arising naturally or spontaneously."... or as another dictionary puts it...
"to form or think of (a plan, method, etc.) : to form or make (something) in a skillful or clever way. : to make (something) happen in a clever way or with difficulty."
 It occurred to me that many people are 'looking for love' in a way that is strongly influenced by the notion that we somehow fall into it, or that it is there waiting to be discovered at first sight. After 35 years of marriage I believe the contrived idea is much more realistic. We should pick up the small offerings of love enacted daily, focus on the traits that reflect a living heart, and look for the good in our partner. Placed in the framework of the way we think about each other, they create an ever-growing heart-shaped view that is LOVE. It requires purposefully laying aside offence and short-comings, leaving them outside our deliberately created boundary. Sometimes this is difficult, but I am clever enough to see that I end up with a much greater love in the end.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Splinters of truth...

Whereas it is good to walk alone, sometimes walking with a friend adds a greater dimension to the experience. They see things from a different perspective, and can show you things about yourself that you may have become blind to.
I am blessed to have a friend like that. His knowledge of plants and their precise botanical names always amazes me. I love that we share a genuine amazement and fascination over God's creation. We can walk in a garden and never grow tired of the trees. Our conversation happily meandering through different paths of creation, relationships and life.
Today my faithful friend gently delivered some home-truths. He did wrap it in jest to soften the blow, but the jokes contained that 'splinter of truth'. Now that I am able to sit and reflect on the conversation they are beginning to do what splinters do. Make me uncomfortable, and realise I must address the issues. Left to themselves they may cause discomfort at the best and infection at the worst!
So thank-you to my friend and his words of insight and the love that motivates him to want the best for me, even if it hurts. Interestingly enough, I accidentally brushed past a prickly plant in following him through a desert garden and have an actual splinter in my thigh just to give me a physical reminder of the lesson! AND... just in case you thought plants could not have prickles and a healing quality here is a Aloe vera in the same garden. (Coincidentally from South Africa as is my friend.)

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:6


Finally found my way through...

For weeks I have been planning a walk all the way through the National Park to the surfside of Bribie. Something about the unattainable 4WD beach has long captured my attention. Once I walked 4 1/2 hours along the beach to find Mermaid Lagoon on that side, and then had to endure the 4 1/2 return trip with blistered feet and hips that felt like they were dislocated. I made up my mind to NEVER put myself through that level of pain again!
So I googled a possible route and it seemed simple enough. Follow the road that accesses the SEQEB Water plant until it becomes a fire trail. Maybe take a turn to the right and then there would be a path that took me 'almost' to the beach.
 WRONG! This is where I ended my first attempt. I took a wrong turn and ended up the proverbial creek without a paddle, or alternate plan!
 Another day, another look at the map and working out where I went wrong the first time. It is never a failure in life, if you use a thwarted experience as a learning process. The temptation to brush it aside as irrelevant is common, but as I found out 70% of the journey was on the right track, it was just a small miscalculation that caused me to err.
Nothing ever worth achieving is gained without persistence, and how sad to give up when breakthrough may be just around the corner... or just past the next set of trees!
BREAKTHROUGH is mine! My first glimpse of the sea through the tree tunnel.

The sunrise on the deserted beach and the view of uninterrupted beauty was worth it all.
I made sure to leave a trail so I could retrace my steps next time, and also as a marker to others who may want to follow in my footsteps. 

A very biblical principle, I might add!

Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here.
Jeremiah 31:21