Flags Across the Harvest #27February 2, 2023
Who are you now?
The life of a dreamer is not an easy one. It is perpetually imprisoned between reality and how you hoped it would be. It reaches a crescendo during that willowy time as you lie in bed, half awake and half asleep. Your eyes are closed, and your heartbeat and breathing are slow. The world becomes irrelevant, and the motion picture of your soul flashes by in fits and jerks like an old reel-to-reel film before the movie begins.
A life in agriculture is based on hard work, though. The times I fall asleep as my head hits the pillow is a thief that steals from me the wonderful experience of sojourning from a created reality to a time of rest. Thus, my best transition into sleep is enjoyed during the not-so-busy season on the farm, when I am not that tired and drift into instead of falling asleep.
I find it sad that for some, this is not so. They struggle with the passage between being awake and asleep. It is a torturous and tormenting time when life’s problems run through their mind on an endless loop with the clarity of an HD movie. If this were not the paradigm, then sleeping pills would never exist. For many, it is a time overrun by angst, similar to how a person afraid of heights anticipates the rungs of a ladder they will be forced to climb in the morning. For them, sleep is a perpetual agony that offers no rest, and dreams become nightmares.
I must thankfully admit that I have never had a nightmare or bad dream in my entire life or have had trouble sleeping, even during the most trying and heart-wrenching times. On the contrary, sleep has always been a time I look forward to; even on the best days that I wished would never end. My existence was and is not without trials, heartbreak, despair, confusion, failure, disappointment, rejection, or any other emotion that none of us welcome. I have been shattered and overwhelmed more times than I care to recall, as have every one of you.
I am taking a chance and a terrible risk of you thinking I am lifting myself up as a life coach or implying that I am a model for others. That cannot be farther from the truth.
I can only ask you a simple question, who are you now?
Life is hard and does not play out from happiness to sorrow and back to joy in two hours as a movie does. The joys are fleeting and evaporate before our eyes while the trying times churn slowly at the speed of a glacier. They chew us up mercilessly and will not even spit us out to allow the pain to cease. But does the pain from these tests of faith, and that is what they truly are, ever cease?
I ask once more, who are you now?
I hate, no, despise the term, new normal, that so many use in the post-pandemic world. Yet, that phrase often rolled from my lips long before 2020. I still use it but in a different context, though.
From my perspective, many attempt to deal with a devastating change by trying to return to life as it was before the event. I have never seen that work. Sorrow from the loss of a person or an animal you love will never let you return to life as normal… it is now a new normal.
Clothes in the closet that will never be worn again, a leash or water bowl that is empty, a project in the garage left unfinished, a crop that will not be harvested by the one that planted it, or toys neatly stored that cease to be scattered around the floor.
These sorrows need to have their way as your emotions whip around as a flag in a windstorm. As much as everyone wants to put this genie back in the bottle, and you can force her in temporarily, the old normal will never return.
Again, I ask, who are you now?
There are as many different trials in life as there are people reading this. One person’s destruction of their “normal” is not any more or less shattering than another’s. Life has a latent way of knowing how to knock each of us to our knees with a made-especially-for-you shipwreck. Does it matter if the metaphorical ship of life capsizes, hits a rock, and sinks, or is lost in a storm? I do not think so.
Once more, I ask, who are you now?
During Biblical times Roman soldiers were often paid in salt. It was considered of great worth since it had not only medicinal value but functioned as a preservative.
It is no coincidence that our Lord has chosen to make our tears salty. The Scriptures make clear that they are of extreme value to Him and that each drop is saved in a bottle. Our Lord uses them to preserve us when we are so shattered that we do not have the strength to go on. And being the Great Physician, the medicinal value of our tears lets His love for us be seen through the cracks of our brokenness.
Who am I now? A man whose soul is anchored in the hope of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
More importantly, who are you now?