Symba III

School has started. So many things to do in preparation! Supplies to purchase. Enrollments to finalize. Trips to Penney’s for new jeans and tennis shoes. Wow. There are a ton of details to attend to so the Darlings will be well cared for. But wait…what about the backpack?


The backpack may be the most underrated of all school necessities. And yet, it’s the lifeline between us and them. It’s pockets allow storage for Kleenex in case their noses run and the tiny front pouch is perfect for the granola bar they may need if they’re hungry.


Indeed, the backpack is a vital link for a parent to utilize when they are looking ahead to make sure the child will have everything they need when they need it.


Our heavenly parent gives each of us His own version of a backpack. It’s that unseen but equally real “vehicle” that carry’s every single thing He knows we will need. In recent days, He slipped something in my backpack so I would be prepared for a life turned upside down.


Last week we laid my Mom to rest. We didn’t see it coming, but of course God did. Seventeen days prior; Doc,my Sis,the kids and I were enjoying the beauty of Yellowstone. It was G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S and I was shutter happy. I and my camera were well behind the rest of the gang. I crouched, leaned and bent so I could catch the best shot of the exquisite scenery.


HOWEVER…initially I was annoyed.


I wanted beauty-and I mean, ONLY beauty… fresh flowers… teal colored water…vivid green spruce. Give me-BEAUTY.


There was just one problem.


Ugly kept getting in the way.


A dead branch mixed with green. Dried grass among vibrant flowers. Dirty stone and muddy channels next to vivid springs. I tried my best Gumby impersonation and bent every which way I could to snap shots that would exclude the irritating ugly.


I complained to God, “I don’t like the ugly mixed in with the beauty.” He whispered, “Take the picture anyway.” I complied. And then I complied again, and again. Before I knew it, I was no longer preoccupied with trying to separate ugly and beautiful. I began to see harmony in the mix and I was moved.


When we returned home I shared my experience with friends. I commented on how God kept pointing out the beauty of life and death intertwined. I saw flowers bursting with color surrounded by gnarly dead branches, and pools of water in jaw dropping hues framed by the stench of sulfur.


Death and life.  Decay and renewal. Intertwined. When we try to separate them we lose part of the beauty in life. And dare I say it, even the beauty in death.


Aspects of my mother’s death were ugly. Broken-hearted family and holes in the many lives she touched. But there is beauty too.


Beauty in the remembrances we have of her.


Beauty in relishing relationships we have here and now.


Beauty in resurrection and the reunion ahead.


As I scrolled through the photos I realized there is also beauty in a God who loves us deep enough to make provision for hard days ahead, even when we don’t know He’s doing it.  God used Yellowstone to slip images and thoughts in my “backpack”. He provided a powerful salve for my wounded heart and I-AM-GRATEFUL.


“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16


Your DoAhead Friend,

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