Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shadows and highlights...

As the new year has come and gone, I've been thinking about, and struggling with, how to tell the rest of the story...

Telling a story is much like painting a picture...only with words.

My grandchildren create the most wonderful paintings...quite magical paintings actually. However, my grandchildren haven't learned about shadows just yet. Their paintings are in pure colors...no dark shadows that would give their paintings realism and depth. Our lives are like this. The joyful times in our lives are the brilliant blues, reds, golds, vibrant greens and even bright silver...the highlights of our lives. Any painting without highlights is dreary and flat.

It's the valleys - the sad times...the losses...the grief - those are the times in which we grow. Those are the times that create the depth and dimension in our lives. Granted, while we're in those valleys, we don't comprehend that fact. We only feel the pain or loss. Those valleys are the times that stretch us, test us, strengthen our faith and propel us into the arms of our loving Heavenly Father.

So, life is made up of mountaintops and valleys. It's that way with each of us. I thank God for the mountaintops He has given me over the years, but I also thank Him for the valleys...and for being with me each step of way through them. So, as I struggle with how to put my life into words, I'll try to remember to be thankful for both the mountaintops and the valleys.

I discovered the following poem many years ago. It's still true today.

My Life Is But A Weaving
My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow, and I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the under side.
Not 'til the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the Weaver's skilled hand,
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.
He knows, He loves, He cares, nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those who leave the choice with Him.
(author unknown)

(I recently discovered the treasured drawing at the top of the page in a box of old papers I was going through. The drawing is done in crayon on manila paper and is by my older son who just turned forty in August of 2008! My best guess is he was about 7 or 8 years old when he did this drawing. Actually, he did put some "shadows" beneath the ship, which was pretty clever for that age. He is now a missionary doctor in the mountains of Peru.)