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Posts Tagged ‘signs and symbols’

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Today I am the dove who asks for God’s strong hand to carry me, to disentangle me from the barb wire of my current circumstances, to confirm my faith in the Way and to show the doubters how God provides. I know my afflictions are minor compared to the great tragedies of the world, so I claim the dove as my emblem.

Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord,
    how foolish people have reviled your name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
    do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever. [Psalm 74:18-19]

I am looking for a confirmation or perhaps I should confess, I’m looking for a sign. That’s so childish, I know. But if I am honest with myself, that’s the truth. I am quieting myself as much as I can in the midst of a very busy week, each night a program or meeting or work that requires my attention. In between, keeping the house impeccable for showings as well as taming the flourishing vegetation after our heavy rains. Calling in repair men and dear friends to do those things I cannot do. And prepping for book group and writing for writing group and volunteering for church and Opera House Foundation. All the while, looking for a place to move within my new, much smaller budget once our house does sell. And then, balancing the adult kids, one pregnant, another frustrated with me and my “needs,” and another out of state. Yada yada yada.

Hear my prayer, Oh Lord. Keep me mindful. Help me practice your Presence in the cracks. For this reason I fast, to step away from the daily preparation and consumption of food at the least. People spend a lot of time on this, I see, from planning a meal to purchasing the ingredients to preparing it, eating it, and cleaning up.

The tears come easily. I am at the six month mark this weekend of losing my husband. The time is harder now than it was before in many ways. This grieving thing is a harsh and unpredictable road. It’s so much more than simply loss of a loved one, it’s the transitioning to a new lifestyle, a new identity, a touchless world, an aloneness, and a limbo, always in doubt of the future.

Despite all the idiosyncrasies of Mike, he was a rock to our family, a given in the midst of change. Not that God is not a rock, of course. But I am not so full of the Christ Spirit that I do not need or want the comfort of my mate. We survived a lot of troubles and disappointments together. We stood the test of time, half my life.

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Here’s another misconception that has bit the dust today out of the Genesis story. All this time, I have been getting all mooney-eyed over rainbows, thanking God for his covenant and seeing them as a “sign” of God’s protection and promise. In fact, my husband and I can name off all the times rainbows have appeared at significant moments: getting married, adoption, buying our house, and so on. We saw them as a blessing.

Genesis 9:9-10a; 13; 16
I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you . . . I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. . . Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.

Oh, I’m sure God doesn’t really mind that rainbows are important to us as a family and as a couple. But really, despite what I have been taught, and sure, it’s a fine sign for the covenant/contract that God made with Noah, but we’d better be clear here. I’m thinking now that God selected that sign as reminder for himself. God will see it. God will remember. God will not destroy the earth by flood (maybe by something else, but not by water).

Rainbows appear at the confluence of light and precipitation. It’s the turning point. It’s the moment when things can go toward sunshine and clear skies to an overcast and dreary day.

It’s as though God is saying, “Oh, the temptation: I could just let it rain and rain and rain.” But God doesn’t because God remembers that there is always hope in Human transformation.

Today, I saw a photographer’s work. Roman Sakovich, who artificially created the juxtaposition of what someone healthy (one side) looks like next to the side that has succumbed to drug abuse. It’s the same scenario in my mind, the same warning of what could be, what I choose, where I  draw the line, what will I believe? The rainbow is the dividing line.

We can see it, the sign, but I think it’s more of a warning than a promise. It’s a “don’t forget” what I [God] can do.

This is a hard thing to consider in the aftermath of the many devastating rain-based storms we have had in the last couple of years. People’s lives have been washed away. Their futures abruptly halted. Their hope crushed by the hand of nature’s unexpected brutality.

It could happen to me. It could happen to you. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” [Romans 8:22]

A covenant, or contract, is binding and is between two sides. In this case, the covenant was made with Noah, as a representative for Human, and God. The covenant, by its nature, has an “if” clause. It is conditional. We have a role in this first covenant as much as we have in the covenants that followed. This one was easiest in many ways: remember and acknowledge. That’s it.

Remember Who made the covenant with Human. Acknowledge the promise not to destroy, despite God’s ability to do so.

The sign is not merely a “blessing,” it’s the stamp on the promise to NOT do something. Not destroy. The next time I see a rainbow, I think I’ll lift up thanks. Thanks God for giving us yet another day to live in harmony with one another and with nature and the creatures who populate our earth. Thanks God for saving Earth, one more time.

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