During the first week of December, Portland and the surrounding areas were hit with record rainfall.
My first morning drive to work, of what was to turn into weeks of downpours, felt like a car wash except for my disobedience to all the rules. My car was not in neutral, my foot was gently on the accelerator and my hands most definitely were gripping the steering wheel.
The ground seemed to cry “uncle” and could not keep up with the pace and quantity of rain leading to flooding and landslides. Puddles and standing water were everywhere making it difficult to walk let alone drive without extreme caution.
A few days into the deluge, I was driving home from work, the rain had lightened up and the sun decided to peer through the grey sky. As the sunshine began to stretch wider and longer, a single ray landed on an impressive high-rise.
I took my eyes off the road in front of me for a moment and gazed at this beaming building in the sky. The sun flickered enough to cease blinding my sight and revealed 5 letters across 5 window panes.
I locked eyes on the word, glanced back at the road and cars in front of me and then lifted my chin up. I admit wanting to snap a quick photo but you know, I was driving…on a freeway.
It’s just as well, because as I kept up this vigil of looking up and down,
I was caught off-guard as tears began to coat my cheeks.
I have no idea the window owner’s intention.
Nor does it matter because it spoke to me in the midst of a chaotic
season, a relentless year.
All I knew was this year my heart had been flooded by images of Paris, black bodies in the streets, weary refugees and thoughts about a man with power, position and a platform shouting out words of fear and hate.
Does his loud voice speak for the hushed beliefs of others?
These heartaches beyond my doorstep clasp hands with all that cross the
threshold of my home.
In the ensuing weeks, I continued to look up through the clouds to see a word which continued to settle and help me exhale most of what is contained in a day.
I am not sure how many years, I have chosen a word or phrase to embrace for the year ahead. I have grown to cherish this practice. Some years, it has been a challenge and other years, like this one, it has beckoned to me from the sky.
My word for 2016 is peace and to further solidify the choice, unbeknownst to me, Carl picked the same word.
Whenever I choose a word in January, I always believe I know the reasons but there are always surprises and deeper purposes than I know at the time.
This is what I know now.
There are times when our lives become so saturated with the cares and concerns of our lives and world that the evidence comes by way of flood or landslide.
I believe there is a way to live at peace despite the deluge of life.
I want peace to reign in the world and I will pray and do my part for that end.
But peace has to be at work in my heart, my actions and my emotions.
The way I treat others or even mutter about them in the confines of my car speaks to the place of peace in my life.
I am becoming increasingly aware how often I replace the good with the hard,
obliterating the blessed fingerprints all over my life.
I can be forgetful.
I want peace to be an umbrella over the good and hard throughout my days.
The good is present, the hard may arrive but God has not changed.
God remains and Jesus continues to be my Prince of Peace,
I must allow Him elbow room in my heart and mind.
I want His peace to invade my life to such an extent my heart can’t keep up with its pace and quantity. The only solution is to allow the runoff to saturate the world around me.
That’s the best kind of flood.
May 2016 and beyond be lived in the midst of these verses:
And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.
Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.
Philippians 4: 7-9 (The Voice)
To my faithful readers,
as I enter my 10th year of blogging,
thanks for sticking with me whether I have doused you with many words
or you have patiently waited through droughts,
this is my blessing and prayer for you:
The Eternal One bless and keep you.
May He make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you.
The Eternal One lift up His countenance
to look upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (The Voice)