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The Rough, the Smooth: Day 4

The bright, the drear

Who doesn’t love a sunny day with a cloudless blue sky? Who cannot appreciate a field of wildflowers? Who doesn’t enjoy a delicious meal, full of favorite foods and flavors? Pretty much nobody.

These are the bright things in life. And something in all of us is enlivened by these and a thousand other things that, as the old songs put it, “make our heart sing.”

However, life also has its fair share of routine and “blah.” What this week’s prayer calls, the drear: cloudy days, the same-old for dinner, nothing new in the closet, but lots of dirty laundry in the hamper.

The truth is, I am an expert on drear. I was raised in the upper Mid-West where winters are long and bitter, where the snow would often drift above my second-story bedroom window and where on May 31--the opening day for the public swimming pools--we were often still in sweater weather.

I say all this so you will understand I have standing for the advice I am about to give: The only cure for the drears is to go deep. You must learn a new and, yes, more disciplined and more creative way of looking at life.

On a rainy day, appreciate the warmth of your home and thank God for His provision. If you are not warm enough, get the softest blanket you have, cuddle up and listen to a podcast or read a book.

As you wash, thank God for having so many clothes and a washer and dryer.

Look out the window and see, not bare trees, but roots growing deep and branches preparing to bud out for the next season of growth.

Write a note to a friend or family member, thanking them for what they have meant to you. Better yet, spend some time thanking your Heavenly Father.

God wastes nothing. Like the trees in winter, the quiet days and empty spaces on the calendar are opportunities to grow deeper. As with trees, it is hard for us to grow out and down at the same time.

Accept the quiet spaces, the slow days, the “nothing new here” as gifts from the hand of a God who never gives His children less than His best.

… and a wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weight heavily on him (Ecclesiastes 8:5,8).

Nancy Shirah

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