Thursday, March 05, 2015

Lessons from the Wall

Back in January the trio & I were able to visit my college roommate, Daree, who recently relocated to the beach. She is nestled in an absolutely gorgeous spot on the Gulf Coast of Florida with a breathtaking view. I told her upon arrival that my goal was to see every sunrise and sunset while I was there. She loved the idea and joined me in accomplishing it.
Sunsets were mostly viewed from the sandy beach, but early morning sunrises were frequently observed over a warm cup of coffee from a certain snuggly window seat on the second floor of her home. 

We talked a lot about the promise of daily sunrises and sunsets--there was certainly symbolism to the end of 2014 and the beginning of a new year, but we spoke more about the reminder sunrises and sunsets are that we serve a God of order. He made this world with such creativity and beauty. No matter what each day has brought, the sun will go down to end it and we know the next day will bring a sunrise and a chance at a fresh start.

When I returned home, Daree decided to keep up the tradition because, truly, is there anything more representative of God's sovereignty and faithfulness than to watch Him gloriously begin a new day?
A couple of times a week I get a morning or afternoon text with no words, just a photo like one of these:
I try to snap a few of my own Georgia sunrises and sunsets and send them in return, even though mine are frequently obstructed by power lines and buildings--unlike her unspoiled beach perspective. It has become a sweet way of acknowledging that we are thinking of each other. 

We caught up by phone recently and one of the first things she reported was that construction was well underway on the empty lot next to her home. She lamented a particular wall being erected and how she felt certain it was going to obstruct the view from her favorite window seat perch.

This view from that place has been such a blessing as she sat each morning and waited for the Lord to show up in her quiet time and in the sunrise. This daily ritual and reminder of God's faithfulness and love suddenly felt temporary.

Ironically, what her neighbor views as progress, feels entirely different to my friend. The same window that once brought such joy threatened to foster bitterness as a man made wall began to obstruct her God-made view.

God, of course, will continue to show up. Each day will begin and end, but the view from her particular place--the visual, undeniable reminder-- will be obstructed. There is nothing she can do about it. When tempted to sulk she saw an opportunity to model gratefulness to her teenaged girls instead. She chose to focus on the blessing as long as the construction would allow.

She continued to rise every morning to see what she could. Then last week, she sent me this. 

The wall is complete. The view from her snuggly place has been blocked.

I have been studying both Nehemiah & Joshua this month. Both of these men's stories have a lot to do with walls. Nehemiah's life work was to construct a wall. Joshua's well known for dramatically bringing a wall down.

When Daree sent this photo to me, I started to think about the 'walls' in my own life. Places where God has told me to get busy--even when others have not been enthusiastically cheering me on. Seasons in which 'progress' disrupted my comfort. Walls I have cursed because of the change they have brought to my plans.

But, Lord, this view was great. I was comfortable and cozy. I was grateful. I was giving You the glory. I was seeking you. Why did you allow this thing to come mess it all up? I don't get it.

When she set her mind and heart on gratefulness, Daree realized this was just one window. Instead of focusing on what was lost, she thought of all God continued to provide.

She realized she had a choice: She could stay in 'her spot' and stare at that wall with bitterness or move to recapture it.

Once she had tasted the sweetness of that perspective she was willing to climb higher to regain it. First it was to a upper stairwell and ultimately outside and up on her rooftop perch.

Now when I get her morning photo texts I don't imagine my friend groggily curled up on a cushion. No, now I picture her wide awake with wind blowing through her hair, blood pumping from climbing a few flights of stairs and staring at the coming day with a satisfied smile.

And I am sure looking out from the window seat view (at a wall instead of a gulf view) will speak to her for years to come.

Get up. Be bold. Risk your comfort. Move. 
His plans for your life, this world, this day are worth it.


terre said...

so much food for thought in this post. thanks for sharing it! i'd love to quote a line or two (with credit to you, of course).

terre @ zoomama speaks

JMom said...

Of course, Terre.

Denise Ross said...

So much food for thought. Thanks :)