These are excerpts from an entry in the Women of Faith Irrepresible Hope devotional book. Patsy Clairmont is the author. If you know anything about her, you know that she is funny and Spirit-filled. I read it this morning and it struck a chord with me; I thought it worth sharing.
My friend Pat Wenger and I love to play with watercolors. It's not that we're especially good. Neither of us is dealing with a full color palette, but we're nervy. We often giggle at our colorful results, tilting our pictures in all directions trying to find an angle that might help others identify our mysterious offerings. Pat painted an orange once that looked just like a bagel while I dabbed away at a lily that took on the appearance of a mortified giraffe.
Recently Pat decided to try her brush at a beach scene with two young boys playing at the shoreline with their red plastic pails full of dreams. I thought it quite an ambitious project, especially with the history of our previous results. Yet the picture turned out amazingly well. The sun-drenched beach and white-capped water were visually pleasing and the children endearing. Pat and I decided it helps to paint what we love: sunny days filled with those most important to us.
Pat is the mom of three grown sons and a grandma of five, so she has a passion for boys, buckets, and beaches. She raised her sons near an ocean, so surfs and sailboats were a daily part of their landscape. And Pat was the kind of mom to join the boys in whatever they were doing. Her eyes ignite with glee when she speaks of her sons' childhood days. It's not that it was all easy; it never is. But there were more days of smooth sailing than of rough seas.
And isn't that true about our lives? When we count them up, more days are easy than chaotic, which gives us hope during hard times that eventually things will smooth out. Some rugged years tend to dim that truth in our churning minds, but if you're like me, when my head clears I remember the good ol' days when my toes were buried in the warm beach while the children built castles and feasted on sandy hot dogs.
I love conversations that begin with "Remember the time..." because more than likely we are going to reminisce about some fun-filled days..........
It's easy to underestimate the value of life's routines. We tend to want to escape the commonplace, yet routine gives predictability to our existence; it helps forge steady places. Also, it's often those day-to-day memories that bring us the warmest flood of emotions later.
When I think of my mom while I was growing up, I remember how sweet she always smelled, the particular care she took with the endless ironing, and how tidy she kept our home. I remember her thoughtfulness of trimming the crust off my sandwiches, the smell of baking powder biscuits wafting through the house, the sounds of her hymn singing while she cleaned, and her compassion toward hurting folks.
I'm not sure I could capture any of those things in my painting efforts...while my painting skills are minimal, my awareness of the hope infused in everyday living grows.
~Lord, when everything is going well, I sometimes forget what brush strokes of hope those days are to my life, to my emotions, and to my sanity. When my attempts to express myself fall miserably short, may my heart praise still be full of all the hues of gratitude. Thank you for the reminder of hope that comes when I look across the waters and spot the sailboat gliding seamlessly across the horizon. Amen.