(I'd no idea I'd so much to say.)
I've been planning a special 100th post called "Why Smooth Stones?," but you're getting this, instead. I can't feel sorry because I need to write out some of the madness of my day. Only some, because some of it doesn't belong to me for the telling. And some of it, if written here, might be hurtful to others.
As to the rest:
I had a bad morning. I was sad, stressed, and sorry in the wee hours because--after tossing her outside for the first time in her life--I hadn't seen my cat for 24.
I slept fitfully and woke up on the wrong side of the bed (literally) because the phone was ringing. The conversation: not terrible, but not great or even good, and, afterward, Clementine heard me creeping downstairs, and I couldn't persuade her to go back to sleep. I'm really not up to mothering Clementine prior to 9 AM. 7 was a giant stretch.
I went outside and called my cat, and I heard her mewing from under the house, which scared me to death because what if she were hurt and trapped? I was considering how I might pry apart the planks under the porch when she came slithering out beneath, none the worse for her great, outdoor adventure.
Next came a crazy storm. I witnessed something out my front window like I'd never seen before. Everything was flipping, rolling, and turning in very violent ways, and I heard the strangest of sounds. By the time I had the presence of mind to gather the girls, it had ended. (Later, when it started to storm, again, the girls and I hid in our pantry.)
Check out my
I thought this poplar was strong and healthy. As it turns out, not so much, so I'm glad it's down and didn't land on anything important! Also that my neighbor is more than happy to chop it up and cart it away.
Let me reiterate: this is just the part I can tell. But--at the point at which my friend Julie called this morning--I'd suffered extreme guilt over tossing my cat outside; fear for my cat's wellbeing; fear for my daughters' and my wellbeing; and several other emotions over a couple other situations I can't share in this forum.
No part of my mess seemed related to any other part of my mess. It just seemed like random mess: mess flying from all directions like so much debris in a tornado.
Then Julie prayed with me, over the phone. (It's important to mention that others were praying, too, but Julie was praying aloud with me.) And all I can tell you without telling you what I can't tell you is that suddenly--in the most epiphanous way--I understood very clearly that all of my mess was related, after all, and that half of it was analogous to the other half.
You'll just have to trust me: what I came to understand (as Julie prayed) equipped me to lunge into the rest of my day with empathy, to see with Christ's eyes. And I needed His eyes desperately, today, for the task at hand.
After Julie and I hung up, I stood and asked God, silently: "Was that really You, just then?"
And--as I gazed upon the giant, felled tree in my yard--God reminded me: "I am not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. I am in the still small voice (I Kings 19:11-12)."
P.S. I will never, ever, ever throw my cat out again, no matter what she does.