Monday, August 27, 2012

A Special Prayer

While driving my daughter home from the airport last night, I breathed thanks to God for bringing her back safe and sound. Over that same weekend, long-time acquaintances lost their 23-year-old daughter in a car accident.

I can't imagine coping after such great loss, and although there are no easy answers as to why bad things happen to good people, Scripture teaches us that it does rain on the just and the unjust.

However, as Christians, we sorrow not as those without hope. Along with our grief, comfort can be found.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is John 14, where Jesus said: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

Today, my prayer is that the Comforter will surround the Treadway family with his unfailing arms of love as they mourn the loss of their beloved daughter. ♦

Thursday, August 23, 2012

After All These Years

Ten years ago this month, my 20-year marriage officially ended in divorce. For the longest time, I floundered in a daze, swimming upstream, trying to keep myself and my teenage daughter afloat in the midst of our life-altering typhoon. Breathing was often easier said than done, and, needless to say, getting married again was the last thing on my mind.

Fast forward 10 years, and much has changed. I have a job, making more money than I ever dreamed. I have a nice home, nestled among the pines. I've built solid friendships that I hold dear. Indeed, God has been good.

The only thing that hasn't changed is the part about getting married again. I'm still playing Solitaire, after all these years, you might say. Not looking for Mr. Right, and not praying that Mr. Right comes along. Just living and letting live.

For the most part, I have been happy with my solitary status. Good relationships require so much energy, and I've had little to give. With that being said, however, the past few weeks have found me feeling more alone and lonely than usual. I know I'm not truly alone in the world—I have family and friends. But, in reality, they have their own lives to live, and at the end of the day, it's just me, coming home to a house where nobody is waiting.

I can't tell you that I always wish someone were waiting, but I can tell you that some days I dread unlocking the door and going in. Generally, I'm talking aloud to myself before I even put my purse down, doing what I can to scare the ghosts of silence away.
In a nutshell, I miss having someone to share my life with. Someone to share those ordinary, yet special, moments with: A quiet rain. A cool morning. The smell of cookies baking in the oven. A funny story I heard. A new recipe.

But, alas, it's just me in the big house, experiencing those moments alone.

Occasionally, someone urges me to "get out there!" and find Mr. Wonderful, and while I appreciate their well-intentioned advice, "out there" is a bit weird for a woman my age—I've been "out there" enough to know. The dating pool is less than ideal. Mr. Wrongs are everywhere (even in the church choir), and, more often than not, they're dragging loads of serious baggage behind them. I'm not convinced I could find love.

Besides, statistics show that in the U.S. 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.

Theories abound as to why, but in his article, "The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages,"  Mark Banschick, psychiatrist and author, believes the prime factor affecting the breakup of second and third marriages is that there is "less glue" holding the marriages together, meaning children and family.

Banschick explains: "Because the great majority of children born to married couples are born during their first marriage, most couples in a second marriage do not have common children to bind them together. Conversely, not having shared responsibility for kids means it's easier to leave when you are going through a rough patch."

Certainly, there are exceptions to every rule—and we all want to believe that we would be an exception. But unless I am head-over-heels, can't-live-without-him in love, getting married again remains low on my list of priorities. I'm not saying never, but you get my drift.

I wish there was at least one man on the planet who just wanted to be my friend. A man who would provide conversation, and company without pushing me for anything more. I truly miss a man's perspective on things. But, of course, no such man exists. And I totally get that. Men don't do platonic relationships with woman. I get it. End of story. Not happening in this lifetime. I get it. I really, really do.

I've considered starting a boarding house and inviting wayfaring strangers in. I have the extra space. I like to cook. What's not to love?
I've also considered selling my worldly goods, getting in the car and driving until the money runs out. It wouldn't solve my "alone" dilemma, per se, but a little wind in my face might give me a whole new outlook on life, love and playing Solitaire. God knows I need an outlook overhaul if I'm going to continue playing this bittersweet game. ♦

Dusk on the Island

Dusk is a favorite time of mine. Add some sand, sea and surf, and it's pretty much perfect. This shot was taken on a recent getaway to Galveston, and it soothes my senses and soul. ♦

Linking to Outdoor Wednesday, where beautiful things are shared.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mosaic Monday: The Grand Niece

I broke my camera recently, and I'm quite lost without it. I have ordered its replacement, but for now, the iPhone camera has to do. Ugh. Yesterday, I went to the local nursery to select some plants for my up and coming yard. I had to snap a few pics of the grand niece, riding on the cart. She is growing every day, and learning something new, I'm sure.

I hope your week is filled with good things. I'm linking to Mosaic Monday.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Once Upon a Summer

Summer 2012 is going by in a hot and humid blur. I can't believe September is almost here.

This week, while browsing through photo albums, I was reminded of summers past, when my parents lived in Mississippi and my daughter and I visited with no real schedule to keep.

Most days found Daddy puttering in the garden, or sprucing up the yard, or tinkering with something under the carport. Mother, of course, kept scrumptuous smells coming from the kitchenin between playing board games, and sewing, and passing along wisdom as only she can do.

Once the supper dishes were washed and put away, we'd usually retreat to the backyard for a time of talking and laughing and watching the sun set. Without warning, Daddy would burst into an old hymn and the night critters would grow quiet and reverently listen.

As bedtime approached, we gathered in the living room for a family goodnight prayer. Another day was ending, another one about to begin.

I'm grateful I realized how fleeting those summers were, and that I documented them all in some enduring way. Simple times, indeed, but rich and so fulfilling. ♦

Linking to Spiritual Sundays.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Looking Inward

As a single woman who answers to nobody but herself, it's easy to get lost in the humdrum of life and lose sight of the purpose of living. Every now and then, I have to take steps back and re-evaluate.

What am I doing for the cause of Christ? Am I making a difference anywhere? Do I have faith only and no works to back it up?

Do I use my job as an excuse to do nothing for the Kingdom, or do I seize every opportunity to let my Light shine? Am I cheerful? Helpful? Positive? Am I the body of Christhis hands, his feet, his mouthpiece?

And what do I do at the end of my day? Do I spend time in quiet communion with my Maker? Do I study God's Word? Do I volunteer for worthy causes? Am I a place of refuge for friends who are in need? Am I quick to listen and slow to judge?

Although the questions are tough, and I don't always like the answers, I pray for the courage to keep looking in the mirror and changing what needs to be changed. Being consecrated to a higher purpose isn't easy, but sowing seeds to my flesh, day in and day out, won't bring the harvest I hope to reap.

"So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God."
Romans 14:12  ♦