Several years ago, one of my friends had her first baby. She was 20 and had married a military man. Pretty soon after Junior’s birth, Papa deployed and Little Mama found herself alone with an infant – an experience that, as the baby of her family, she had never before faced.
It was daunting.
When Junior was about five months old, Aunt Sarah (that’s me) came to visit. The day of my visit was a good one. It was sunny and warm. The baby was in a cheerful mood. The house was pretty clean. Even the cats were getting along. But as we sat on the couch and chatted, my friend shared – laughing – about how difficult it was to parent a baby alone and how always, the bad stuff seemed to happen at once. When the baby gets his first bad cold, the transmission on the car goes out, and while trying to cook dinner in a sleep-deprived stupor, Little Mama manages to catch a kitchen hand towel on fire.
Hearing about my friend’s trying time, I bounced the happy baby on my knee and we laughed together. But how many times have I felt the same way about other situations?
…when I was a senior in college, going to school full-time, working three jobs, dead broke, and ran out of gas on my way to class…
…when I was living in my first studio apartment, with a stalker living in my building, and my neighbor fell asleep while cooking and started a grease fire that threatened to come through our adjoining wall…
…when I came home from my grandmother’s funeral and went to work only to find myself in the middle of a flurry of deadlines and my computer died…
…when I was sitting by one friend’s post-surgical bedside, thinking about my uncle who was dying of pulmonary fibrosis, and simultaneously getting a phone call that one of my other close friends was terminally ill.
These things happen. It’s life! And we feel overwhelmed. That’s natural! But what do we do with all of it?
Corrie Ten Boom starts her book, The Hiding Place, with a story:
“I leaned as far as I could from the single window in my bedroom; it was always hard to see the sky from the Beje [the Ten Boom’s home]. Blank brick walls looked back at me, the backs of other ancient buildings in this crowded center of old Haarlem. But up there where my neck craned to see, above the crazy roofs and crooked chimneys, was a square of pale pearl sky. It was going to be a sunny day for the party!” (ebook location 164-168)
Sometimes, the hard circumstances of life loom in front of us like brick walls. But like Corrie, we can crane our necks to look up to the sky and see the sun.
That may sound simple. Certainly, when you are in the midst of a deluge of stress and worry, and you’re feeling swamped. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m there at some point almost daily. But I know that the only time I’ll drown is when I stop looking for the sky.
Be encouraged! Keep looking at the sky. The sun always returns.
This is the first discussion of our new series of discussions on Corrie Ten Boom’s classic book, The Hiding Place. We will be chatting about one chapter each Wednesday – and you don’t have to read the book to toss your opinion into the ring! However, if you do write a response about this chapter on your own blog, we would love for you to link up at the widget. Today, I have the widget. (Below!) And next week, my co-facilitator, Jason, will host the widget. Thanks for joining us!