Monday, September 23, 2013


I cannot breathe through my nose right now, and my eyes are running like fountains. Pressure headache. My soft palette itches. Reuben says it's probably ragweed.

Our neighbor, Mr. Raymond, is mowing the hayfield around our house this morning. Maybe getting the hay out of the field will help some with the allergies.

I was hanging a load of laundry on the line just a few minutes ago, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and cool air, admiring Mr. Raymond's handiwork as he passed in his big blue tractor. KA-CHUNK!! I grimaced. That was not a good sound to come from a tractor!

I watched as Mr. Raymond climbed down from the cab of his tractor and walked around to see what had caused the problem with his mowing. I remember that, way back when I was a young girl, my Dad seemed to have never-ending glitches with farm equipment. A job that should take one morning to complete would take two days, because something would break, a part had to be ordered, repairs made.

I watched Mr. Raymond working on his mower on the other side of the field. Maybe it would be something easily fixed. I headed back inside with my empty laundry basket and my apron of clothespins.

Yesterday, our community gathered to honor a dear, sweet cousin who died last week of cancer.

This morning at breakfast, Steve noticed that his shirt cuff was frayed. "Look at that," he sighed. "Seems like all my shirts are wearing out. Do you think it's a bad omen?"

Sickness, death, allergies, machinery malfunctions, frayed shirts...

No, it's not a bad omen. It's a reminder that we live in a fallen world. That things are not as they should be. It's a reminder that, Yes, Adam and Eve DID disobey God, and, Yes, there WERE consequences. We feel the consequences every day. We, their children, are sinners, and we live in a world cursed with the consequences of sin. Smaller consequences - like allergies and frayed shirt sleeves. Bigger consequences - like sickness and death.

Sound heavy? These frustrations and annoyances and griefs and heartbreaks would indeed be too heavy to heavy to bear, if it weren't for the fact that they also remind us that, NO, life should not be like this.

It's like we have wired into our brains the consciousness that things were not always this way, that they should not be this way now. We long earnestly for things to be different, better. There was a perfect world once, and a perfect life - we're sure of it - and we want desperately to be in that perfect world again.

Thankfully, if we are Christ's, we have the assurance that we are journeying back to that perfect world. Yes, we broke our home terribly, and it is very, very messed up. But Christ, the Creator, is also Christ, the Redeemer - and He's redeeming and making new, not just us, but also our home.

So, in an odd kind of way, this sinus congestion reminds me - I'm on a journey. The broken tractor tells me - I am a pilgrim, on a sometimes rocky road. The frayed shirt sleeve testifies - this world will wear out and one day be "rolled up like a scroll." The death of a friend proclaims - we are just passing through. And even these sorrows and frustrations encourage me, because they increase my longing to be in a better place. They make my heart tender with thoughts toward Home.

Mr. Raymond has the mower fixed now, and he's back at work, slicing swaths of thick, silver grass in ribbons around the field. The hum of the tractor, the whir of the mower blade, the sun shining on the freshly mowed hay - what a beautiful morning!

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