Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)
TITLE: When Life Gets Squirrelly
By Kimberly Russell
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But at the insistence(nagging) of my health coach, doctor, and unrelenting conscience, I've made a commitment to hoist myself off the couch on a regular basis.
So now I walk.
Today I'm cranky and the last thing I want to do is amble through the neighborhood.
I spend some time "should-ing" on myself until I cave under the guilt. Stuffing earbuds in place, I hit the street.
It's a butter-melting morning. Sweat slides off my forehead like trickling rivulets of victory. Maybe someone will see me and be impressed by my sogginess.
I meander, my mind ruminating about the lousy few days I've had. Life has been chaotic, and I feel like I'm going down for the third time. If only Jesus would appear and sweep me away. Then instead of drowning, I'd be sprawled on a heavenly beach, surrounded by sapphire seas. Ahhh, paradise.
My musing is interrupted by a catchy rhythm blaring from my iPod. I step up the pace in an attempt to stay on beat when the words begin to whisper to my heart.
<i>In Christ I can do all things
In Christ I mount up on eagle's wings
In Christ I wait for a great reward
That I have in store *</i>
Sometimes I wish great reward would come sooner than later. I'm ready.
Coming toward me is a lady walking her dog. A Mexican stand-off is imminent as we bear down on one another. It doesn't appear she will move aside so I grudgingly inch to the right. Despite the fact that Fido noses toward me, she barrels on. He just wants to be friendly. She isn't interested. I reach out to pat the dog as her shoulder knocks my hat askew. I mutter an apology, astounded by her discourtesy. Then chide myself: maybe be she's having a bad day too.
Hopefully she's nice to Fido.
I move on, annoyance bubbling up as I stumble over litter in my path. A discarded box from a pregnancy test? Really? Probably came from the nearby pharmacy. Usually there's a trashcan right by the front door. How rude.
Wonder why someone would be in such a hurry that they would toss a box out the window? Maybe long-anticipated baby news. Or a teen, terrified that her life might be over before it begins. Happy or sad. Could go either way. I send up a prayer for the person that bought the box.
The DJs on the radio cut-up, their sorry attempts at humor suddenly taking a serious turn. They talk about how things go wrong in our lives and making mistakes. My ears perk up since I can relate to everything being said. They continue chatting about the importance of depending on God. And how he wants to help us.
"God's in charge of messes," they tout. Good thing since I have plenty.
My march leads me near a baseball diamond where I happen to look up and see the oddest thing: a squirrel draped over the top of the outfield fence.
He looks like a cartoon critter, stretched out long-ways, legs limp. Sunshine bounces off the chain link, bathing him in sparkles while his tail flutters in the breeze. At first I think he's dead then I breathe a sigh of relief when his little chest rises. I'd like to reach for my cell phone to take a picture, but fearing I will disturb his afternoon snooze, I refrain. The fact that he is precariously perched above doesn't appear to concern him.
I come to a halt as an epiphany drops into my soul.
If only I could rest in peace despite what is going on around me...or when danger lurks.
Is it possible that God wants to help me work through the messes in my life? Maybe seeking a heavenly escape route isn't the best option.
I consider my unpleasant days, the gloomy dog-walker, and the implications of the discarded pregnancy test box. Trouble is everywhere. There's no getting away from it.
Yet if a squirrel can slumber in peace, balanced twenty feet off the ground, can't I trust the God of the universe?
Paradise will have to wait. Apparently there are things for me to learn right where I am.
<i>In Christ I don't worry about all the rest
Cause everything I need to be is in Christ *</i>
*Lyrics from the song, "In Christ" by Big Daddy Weave
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