Despite the Dark Cloud


I sat on the beach the first full morning of vacation. It wasn’t as warm as I expected. In fact, it was cloudy, windy, borderline chilly (although it would have seemed balmy, even steamy, if I had been home in central Illinois). Despite the feel, it was beautiful. I was able to sit outside, bare feet in the sand, no coat. The waves lapped the shoreline. The trees gently rustled. The birds chirped. The sun intermittently shined despite the looming cloud.

I had a choice. I could focus on the dark cloud and chilly breeze or the sunshine and warmth. It’s a choice I have to make every day…multiple times every day. I can focus on the inconveniences or blessings. My choice doesn’t mean I ignore reality. A cloud can hang, but it’s not the only thing in the sky.

I looked at the cloud and felt the chill, then I changed my focus. I felt warmth. I saw a peek of sun. I thought of someone close to me who chooses to look at the sun every day despite the looming cloud. It’s a dark, depressing cloud, but the sun peeks through. Even when it doesn’t, the sun is still there. It doesn’t go away.

What dark cloud is looming over you? Keep it in the context of the entire sky. Do you know someone with a dark cloud in his or her life? Acknowledge it but don’t focus on it. Talk about other things, too. A dark cloud doesn’t define his or her life…or yours.

Soak up the peeks of sun, listen to the waves, see the big picture. The sky is vast. So are the possibilities, not just for tomorrow but for right now.

Let Go

I love watching the leaves change, then drop gently to the ground. I enjoy hearing the rhythmic crunch as I power walk through them.

But the bare trees make me a bit sad. They seem so…bare. Lonely. Cold. Less than what they can be. bare_tree

As I watched a few leaves fall from a tree in my backyard recently, I thought, “It’s not time! Why are leaves prematurely falling? It’s not even windy!” But I soon realized the leaves were not falling prematurely. They were falling when it was time for them to fall. The tree let go because it was time. Soon, all the leaves will be off the tree. It will release all of them. But it’s not less than it can be. It is still a tree. It is still alive. The very thing I don’t like is a sign of a healthy tree.

If the tree couldn’t let go of the leaves, it wouldn’t be long before the snow and ice would come. It would encase the clinging leaves, causing a weight too heavy for the thinner branches to bear. They would crack and break under the weight.

We have to let go in order to grow. It’s who we are. You might feel as if you can’t bear the weight of what’s going on in your life right now, but maybe it’s because you were never intended to…maybe you need to let go of something to prepare for the weight ahead. You might feel as if you’re not as beautiful as you once were, but there is beauty in fulfilling your purpose, doing what you were created to do, including transformation. You might feel vulnerable, and you might be vulnerable, but trying to stay in a season longer than God intends will make you even more vulnerable.

Ready or not, it’s time to let go.

Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? (Isaiah 43:18-19)