Friday, September 23, 2011

Little Things Bouy One's Spirit

Little things sometimes become powerful. The small moments in our lives often reassure us of God’s love, a family member’s, or a friend’s.

             As I look at the trees that line the creek near our home, I see them dying right before my eyes. Old oaks, stately pines, and a very old catalpa tree on our property to name only a few. We hope the trickle watering at night has been enough to keep the old live oak in our yard alive. I know that none of those trees really belongs to my family. I can’t determine their fate.  Indeed, they came up as saplings because of God’s design and they remain rooted in God’s soil, and he will water them when he wants. A small thing a raindrop, but its single vitality serves to nourish despite its smallness.

            Our land in South Texas is usually so well watered that it produces an abundance of mushrooms. I’m surprised we coast dwellers don’t have mushrooms growing in our lungs, since the air is so moist. Due to our historic drought, I will sorely miss the abundant splendor of morning glories blooming on the roadsides in Montgomery County – their vines climbing fences and roadway barricades.

            The morning glory’s heart shaped leaves and lavender blossoms have always been a favorite because they are September bloomers – pushing their delicate vines up through the ground even when high temperatures are still the norm. They arrive after dreadfully hot summers, but my search for them this fall has only brought sighting of a few stunted flowers, strugglers hearty enough to bloom beside cracks in the soil that could swallow them whole. A couple of tiny violet flowers, small things, but blooms during droughts always bring blessings.

            Even as grass crunches and breaks under each step of my foot, God’s ever nourishing earth disclosed something else this week.  A surprise lily dared the terrible heat, punching its lovely stem up through the dried earth producing floral trumpets.  Surprise lilies are just that. They most often bloom during hurricane season. They first grow broad leaves and about five days after these leaves wilt, a stem quickly pushes up through the ground producing the lilies.

            We live on an old home place, and I don’t know the network of old bulbs hiding beneath the soil; many have lain dormant for years. Suddenly, a resurrection takes place, and they surprise me by producing an array of color through no efforts of my own. God in his mercy provides a tiny but potent pleasure when he allows one to pop up overnight, a colorful reminder that he remains in control.

            My mother passed away over a recent hot record-breaking weekend.  As I washed the last clothes she wore and folded her socks and washcloths, I also folded little squares of fabric that helped to keep her hands busy over the last few years. You may remember when I told you about her dementia and shrinking interest in the world around her. Bedridden she could no longer read, write, or comprehend television. Family connections faded as well.

            I know many dementia patients pick at their covers, but there seemed to be more of a tailoring method as my mother, who could spend hours in a fabric store or at a pattern catalog, made exact pleats and smoothed them in place. Knowing her love of textiles, an idea was born to furnish her with quilt quarters, colorful pieces of seasonal cotton fabrics to occupy her hands and fill the years upon years of lying in bed and growing more frail. Quilt quarters, an insignificant thing, but I hope they brought her peace, and only God alone knows.

            Do you know someone who would benefit from telling them about the Talking Book Program (TBP), a division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) in Austin, Texas, and works with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in Washington, DC, a program administered by the Library of Congress?

            They bring the world of literature through the tiny dots of Braille and through audio to sightless worlds of the blind. They also broaden the borders of the disabled through lending and mailing books and the loan of audio playing devices as long as needed – one of their resources: “The Holy Bible” with both the old and new testaments (narrated by Alexander Scourby).

            This week, I pray that you watch for small but significant surprises brought to you by the Creator, and then make time to shine similarly into someone’s life. Pay the toll for the person behind. Show a genuine smile. Speak to a stranger (it’s okay for adults). Give a hug. Hand someone a flower. Truly listen to someone. Look into someone’s eyes. Small acts of kindness nurture others, and those deeds may become the dynamic catalysts to restore his or her hope.

            Index Card Verse for Week 38: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

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