Thursday, May 9, 2013

Casualties of the Storm

May 9, 2013

            I'm going to ask you to stop and listen to a song for a moment. It's just a short little song, but the message is SO powerful. Here it is.

              Amazing, isn't it? Tell me you didn't cry. I had never seen the video that plays along with it, so I cried too. Especially...well, no, there was no especially. Every image was potent and represented something significant to me.
              This post has been sloshing around inside me for a long time now. I thought I was just putting it off so I didn't have to feel unpleasant, but I know better now. I wasn't ready to share my heart on this topic until I realized what is actually in my heart. Because what I knew was just the tip of the iceberg. There are things inside me that I had no idea were there. I had no idea
             When an intense storm hits an area, there are often casualties. People who didn't hear the warning. Or heard it and couldn't-or wouldn't-heed it. Sometimes people die saving someone else. These people are acknowledged as heroes, but their families, the people who loved them, are just casualties of the storm.
               Life storms produce casualties too, but unfortunately, for many reasons, these casualties often don't get the recognition and honor they deserve. I'm talking about hopes, dreams, and plans that get uprooted and swept away. Many times, we minimize their loss, especially--and please understand, I'm not picking on anyone here! But especially Christians, with their "count your blessings" mentality. We are led to believe that if we have something to be thankful for, we have no right to gripe about what we don't have. It's good to count your blessings. I do really believe in that. But I'm going to paint a picture for you of what can happen if we don't pay tribute to our lost dreams.
                This is a vision that God gave to me a few years ago. It's very vivid, so I apologize in advance for any stomachs I turn. Imagine a lake that looks calm and clear on the surface. If you want to totally get into this imagery thing, add some beautiful trees, plants, and maybe some mountains in the background. These represent the beauty in your life. The blessings. With me so far? Okay, good. Now.
               Imagine that somebody throws a bunch of dead bodies into that lake. Some are people, some are animals; all are newly dead. They hit the water with a splash and sink quickly out of sight. The ripples slosh against the shore for a minute and then everything settles into its peaceful state once again. There is no discernable difference. Not yet.
            As time goes by, however, those bodies begin to rot. Bits of decaying flesh drift throughout the water. Bacteria thrives, and before too long, the lake is contaminated. It may look the same on the surface, but drinking or even swimming in the water can make you deathly sick.
            The same principle applies to our souls. If broken dreams aren't brought to the surface, honored, and released, they decay inside of us and contaminate the essence of our spirit. In order for life and health to flow through us, we have to regularly "dredge the lake" and eliminate the longings, however small, that died an untimely death.
           So that is my wisdom for you today, my friend. Dredge your lake. Allow yourself to mourn. It may be a letter written to that child you never had, a song or a poem that puts words to your feelings. I have a sweet friend who planted a flower for each of her miscarried babies. I think I'm going to try making a scrapbook of images that represent the wishes and hopes that were taken from me. And one final note: performing this process will NOT detract from the beauty of the blessings around you. You can look up from your lake and still appreciate the trees, flowers, and mountains. I guess it's just one of those funny things about life, that pain and beauty can exist in the same breath, and we can smile through our tears.


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