There are times when a person just needs a little solitude. When the world around you is full of flashing signs and blaring music and distractions of every kind. We all have those moments when the mental clutter just needs to be pushed back and space needs to be given for focusing on one thing at a time. We need to just let our minds drift for a little while like a bird on the lake. He’s not trapped in the water. He can leave at time of his choosing. He can paddle around and go to any part of the water or land that he wants. He’s not overtaken by winds or currents but instead he rides them. He works in harmony with creation and achieves what is needed. And he rests when it’s time. He is at peace with his environment as God intended. Solitude isn’t really about being antisocial or introverted. It’s about focus. It’s intended to be a limited time for mental and emotional recharge. We exercise our bodies to grow stronger and have more endurance but any successful athletes will tell you that it’s during the resting cycle that the strength manifests. Our minds and spirits are the same way. We need a resting state to fully benefit from the stimulation we experience in daily life.
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I’ve said it before about how much I love twisted and crooked, gnarly trees. The curls sweeps of the wood speak of challenges that were overcome to survive. I’m not sure what caused the arabesque in the trunk of this one but the moment I saw the double curve I fell in love with the tree. No doubt that it had to have carried the weight of at least one or maybe two larger trees as it grew. I also have no doubt that it’s unique shape prevented it from being harvested at some point in its history.
Sometimes God allows us to go through struggles that we don’t understand. We might wonder how much longer a situation will last. We might think that the burden we carry will pull us down. But if we just keep going and we don’t give up we can make it. Sure, there’s going to be scars and we may not stand as tall as some of our contemporaries. But, that doesn’t make us any less beautiful. It makes us overcomers and it makes us unique.
As I looked around at the surrounding forest there were hundreds of trees that were straight and tall. Some of trunks were so thick that you and your best friend couldn’t reach all the way around them by joining hands. But they all faded into the background. The only one that stood out and begged to be photographed was the one who was unique. One day this tree will fall just like the rest of them. As a woodworker I can imagine some bent wood furniture being made from crooked trunk. If it ever happens it will be a centerpiece in someone’s home where the others couldn’t compete with the graceful curves produced by overcoming the struggle. Don’t ever give up. Bend and adapt to overcome and you’ll grow into something special.
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Genesis 9:13 gives us a promise. The clouds will part and the sun will shine again. Things will be made right. It might take some time and there will be rebuilding process but recovery will happen.
In the spring of 2016 I thought that I would never see a flood on my mountain. Then one day the clouds gathered and dumped massive amounts of rain. The water ran off the hills and swept through my neighborhood. By the grace of God my property was relatively untouched. But just a little further downstream my neighbors were looking a disaster of epic proportions. I really expected to see the tiny community of Alta become a ghost town. There were piles of debris as tall as some of houses. But the people are strong and two years later there are only traces of the flood. The news called it a one thousand year event.
I’m telling you this story tonight because I have so many friends and family who are facing the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. I know that there will be heartbreak and dark days ahead. I know that the amount of effort to rebuild is daunting. But I believe in you and I believe in the promises of God. I hope that tonight’s feature image brings you hope and encouragement. I also have just learned about Typhoon Mangkhut which is twice the size of Florence and headed for the Philippines. I want to encourage you too! We’re praying for you as well.
Today is a busy day on the Kanawha River. The coal barges were all over the water moving massive amounts of coal up and down the river. The little tug in tonight’s feature image was pushing three barges and all three are the size of office buildings. The ones here are riding high on the water which means that they are empty but I’ve seen these little boats move full barges and more than three of them at once. I’m told that the men who work the river live on the boat for months at a time and are home for a couple of weeks before embarking on another journey. In a previous post I remarked that electricity is delivered by train but it travels by boats too! It impressive to see the little tugs at work moving huge amounts of mass with ease. And that brings me to the point of tonight’s post. Never judge anyone by their size. Especially yourself. When a person pushes their limits they might fail the first time. And the second and third and so on. But eventually something happens and the weight budges. That’s when you really dig in and push with all your might. Once the weight is moving it’s easy to keep it moving. Once it’s been done it’s easier to do it again. And it’s all in the heart. Not the muscle but the spirit. The core of our being that empowers us to never give up. What’s more is when two tugs team up and work in synchronicity. They don’t just move twice as much but three or maybe even four times the mass. Like the little tugs we are capable literally moving mountains when we’re equally yoked. Two people who are in sync compound their strengths. They can cheer each other on and keep that spirit energized. I was encouraged to watch the little tugs at work today and I hope you are too.