Wednesday, November 2, 2011


One of my favorite art apps on my iPod had suddenly developed a mind of its own. When I try to move the screen down, it moves up. When I try to use the colors on the right side of the screen, at first it ignores me, and then it crashes and I lose whatever art I was working on. I finally gave up and wrote the app developer, begging for a solution. But in the meantime, I had to find another art app that allows that same wonderful watercolor effect. I started playing with another one I already have on my iPad, but it lags a second behind my stylus. Again, I am forced to conclude, perfection on earth will never come.

But in the meantime, I drew with the imperfect app a picture of the sea. And then the day became outrageously busy, and I didn't have time to draw anything else. I lay awake last night wondering what God might be trying to tell me through my subconscious in my drawing of the sea. I was stumped. The only thing I could think of was that I wanted to throw all the school books this year in the sea and start all over. I suspect Asherel shares my feeling. Somehow I doubt God's message is one of defeat, or giving up.

Maybe God wants me to take a vacation to the ocean! This would be a positive message and one I could really use. And while at the ocean, I could throw all the school books in the sea.

And then I thought about our lesson at the dog club last night. Our teacher is wonderful and was trying to teach Asherel why Honeybun might be tentative in her runs at the agility contests. Laura pointed out that if a cue to the dog from the handler comes late, the dog has to slow down to read what the handler is trying to say. The dog becomes slower and slower, and more and more tentative, and the handler loses more and more confidence and slows down herself to be sure the dog is able to read the signals in time...and so the downward spiral goes.

That is what is happening to me in our school this year. I feel like we are getting sucked down the "too busy/too hard/ too much to do" drain, and I am feeling powerless to fight the powerful downward swirl.
One of our instructor's advice to Asherel was, "Run, don't look back!! Everytime you look back, she slows down!"

The ocean pounds tirelessly at the shore. Wave after wave it sends forth, and I wonder if it ever feels disgusted that it doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. We are reading about Sequoya, the  Cherokee who developed the writing system that preserved the Cherokee language. For most of his life he was laughed at, scorned, ridiculed, and told the system was too hard, no one would ever learn it, and he was wasting his time. In the end, he succeeded, and realized that his life of struggle had been worth it. He singlehandedly preserved the Cherokee culture in the midst of our nation's horrendous treatment of the Native Americans. it was his invention of a common written language that provided communication across the vast continent with the various Cherokee tribes that ultimately held them together.

The ocean never gives up. The waves keep coming. There is my powerful message. Do what you need to do day after day after day. There will be swells, and there will be troughs. And progress is sometimes measured not in how far we advance, but how faithfully we fulfill the task set before us.
"Persevere!", the waves call, even as the tide sweeps them back to where they started.

David of the Bible was often in despair, as he became a fugitive, running for his life from the jealous King Saul who was determined to kill him. David likens the struggle to a raging sea, to waves threatening to engulf him. Then he finds solace in the knowledge that God can calm the sea, and God can reach in and snatch David from despair, and place him in a "spacious place" of refuge.

Even with the imperfect iPod app, I drew a pretty picture I thought. It could be better. It always could be. But it could be worse. Perhaps I will draw a better one today with a message that doesn't have to be contorted out of nothing.

2 Samuel 22: 5-7, 16, 20-22, 33

5 The waves of death swirled about me;
   the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
6 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
   the snares of death confronted me.
 7 “In my distress I called to the LORD;
   I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came to his ears.

  16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
   and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the LORD,
   at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

 20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
   he rescued me because he delighted in me.
 21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
   according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
   I am not guilty of turning from my God.

33 It is God who arms me with strength
   and keeps my way secure.

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