Monday, August 1, 2011

Pick a song, any psalm

Birth. Studies. Friendships. Dinners. Weddings. Funerals. I decided to take a few weeks vacation since my brain feels scrambled by all the events. I'm at home for the first summer in years, so the yard is weeded and the hedges are trimmed. The ferns haven't dried out in their pots, but hang lush and verdant from the porch hooks. The petunias once again droop with mildew from the constant drizzle, just when things were looking brighter.

"I've just realized that people are not very friendly in Seattle," someone remarked last week. He lives elsewhere, so he noted how we cut each other off in traffic, snarl when we think we should be ahead in line, and ignore others as though we are the only person walking or shopping. "It's not like that where I live. People smile, say hello, and are eager to help." Admittedly, he lives in a sunny state.

Seattle feels a bit grim this year. Financial downturns have made many feel unsettled. The weather hasn't helped. The clouds keep scudding the skies, just when we start to dry out from a lousy winter, mirroring the depression, uncertainty, and anger many people feel.

I smile when I hear someone say, "She never complains," or "You never hear a negative thing from him." I love to be around people like that, but it's constant discipline for me to stay positive in surroundings that stay cool and wet and dark. I'm more of a sun lizard than a damp slug in temperament.

Have you noticed that the Psalms complain as well as rejoice? Life is not always like florist roses with the thorns picked off. Sometimes our personal bed of roses includes aphids, stinky fish fertilizer, and razor-sharp irritation. While the beauty of life is astonishing, the pain is very real and personal, too. I love that some songs in the Bible end with, "Groan, can't you pay attention and change my circumstances?" while others go from sad to relieved that God is in control.

I'm going to find myself a happy Psalm today and say it OUT LOUD, thankful for sunshine and blue skies outside my window!

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