This earth is both a lovely and terrifying place. Those two opposites juxtaposed together are sometimes the only thing that can give me hope. Many people have exclaimed about the outpouring of love on Texas and Florida after the hurricanes - and truly it is beautiful. But there are smaller pieces of loveliness tucked into each day, too, right alongside the dark, murky fears that cling to us like unwanted velcro. And if we look for them, there we will find reason to hope.
When the first day of fall comes, people generally fall into one of two parties. There are those who breathe deeply, give a satisfied shiver, and then pull out their Uggs and buy a pumpkin spice latte. And there are the others, who feel the impending shortened days like a palpable darkness in their bellies. And perhaps, just maybe, there is a group of outliers. We are the ones who feel that darkness in our bellies, but rejoice in the pumpkin breads and bulky sweaters. We know that the change of season will bring shorter days and darker nights and shifts in our brains, but we also really love apple picking. While there is plenty to dread, there is also plenty to hope for.
But there are things we will have to encounter that are far scarier than the autumn equinox. This morning as I sit and drink my coffee, I think about the things that scare me. Failing my students comes to mind. I have twenty-two little ones who look to me to know what to do. Twenty-two little souls who are developing at all different speeds. And I fear, on the hard days, that I haven't done enough. That even though I've done everything I know to do, it is not enough. Perhaps if you are a parent, you feel this way some days, too. It's a terrifying feeling.
But luckily for us, our Maker knows we are just dust. And though we aren't always going to be enough, He is. And though we may be terrified, He is lovely. And while this earth will always scare us at times, He is tucking little pieces of loveliness into the seams of our days. Because He is right beside us, and He will not let us crumble. He will give us hope. I saw this yesterday when one of my students, who had previously refused to read, curled up next to his book buddy and, with a huge smile stretched across his tiny face, read every book in his book box. There. is. hope. And we don't have to be enough, because He is.
So friends, whether it's the fear of shortened days or a shortened life or of failure or natural disaster, we do not have to stay terrified. We can turn to our Maker and search for the way He juxtaposes our fear with beauty. I promise you - if you search in earnest, you will find something lovely.