Last night my sleep was interrupted by a thunderstorm and a bad dream. I was anxious when I awoke, and could not go back to sleep. Among other thoughts, I remembered that my husband had recently tried to repair a roof leak for the second time, and if successful, the outside of our front door would be dry. If not...ugh. I lay in bed thinking about my awful dream and the door. I tossed and turned, trying to focus on something else, but I could not get settled down enough to sleep. I finally gave up, got up, and checked the door. The repair had been completely... unsuccessful! I stuffed a towel between the doors and tried to go back to bed. And I tossed and turned even more (meanwhile my husband slept away....how can he do this, I wondered...must be nice!). So I went into my office, turned on my computer, and watched uplifting LDS messages on the internet. I prayed and prayed. I have been anxious lately about many things, and I can't seem to get settled. I'm like an ox stuck in the mud. Finally I felt better enough to return to bed and sleep.
By morning the storm was gone, so I decided to take the dog for a walk. The air was cool and wet, and plants were still dripping rain. A few branches and small trees were bent over, and one tree had a large limb almost completely severed (perhaps by lightening, I thought). A patch of beautiful Queen Anne's Lace was bent almost to the ground.
I thought about how amazing it is that most of these plants will return to their previous positions in the coming sun and dry air. They will slowly reach for the light and soak it in. Most evidence of the storm will be gone, and the rain which beat them down will help them grow.
And so it is with life. Stormy times come, but if we reach for the light, God, we will find it and be healed. He meets us as we do what we can to know Him. We will also experience personal growth. Somehow storms nourish us when we exercise faith in God. For me, the growth often doesn't seem to occur until afterwards, just as the plants rebound slowly when the sun comes out again.
What about the torn branches and leaves, you might ask? I think that is the pruning process, which also helps plants grow. God prunes us, too. It's not fun, speaking from personal experience, but the blessings that follow are worth it.
While returning home a line from something popped into my head, "hyacinths feed the soul". It's from the following poem I have not thought about for years:
If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
Attributed to the Gulistan of Moslih Eddin Saadi,
a Mohammedan sheik and Persian poet who lived about 1184-1291
Perhaps it is a message for me to feed my soul with things that will bring me joy, even in anxious times. I think it applies to all of us.
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