I live in New Hampshire. It has been a tough week for us New Englanders. Many that I share this blog with live in different parts of this country, or the world. On Monday, our world in New England stopped for a few moments. Just stopped. It was a devastating moment of time. To watch so much senseless hurt, anguish, death, trauma. It was hard to watch - but even more difficult to feel.
You see, my daughter was in a building on Boylston Street. She recently started a new job in Boston - began living on her own just outside of Boston, and is loving the life of an independent young woman. Then Monday came. She saw the runners cross the finish line, the excitement of the day as they went through their busy hours of getting work done, and enjoying the moment - until she felt the shake of the building. The shakes (yes, more than one). What followed, the lockdown of the building, the eventual evacuation, the journey to find a way back to her apartment, was frightening. There were many moments when I couldn't reach her - crying out to our Dear Lord for Him to continue to rescue her - as the events of that horrific day unfolded. Meanwhile, my other daughter is at a college about 20 minutes outside of Boston. Her school had a bomb threat as well - texts and emails flying back and forth. Not knowing what was going on was unbearable.
I am blessed to say that our family is safe. Blessings - we have so many of them. Others were blessed that day, others have much pain and grief to bare. Yet, it is our blessings that we need to focus on, that we need to count, that we need to remember are always in front of us. We have a loving and gracious Lord - who is with us each and every day. He folds His loving arms around us, enveloping us with His love. Sit still, close your eyes in a quiet place. Maybe you are outside and can feel His whisper in a breeze. Maybe you are wrapped in a blanket and can feel His warmth. Maybe you are tired and weary, and you can feel His arms holding you up. Maybe you are grieving, and you can feel His hand holding yours. Maybe you are happy and can feel His smile upon your face.
The blessings are there for us to count. Our Dear Lord is there to count them with us if we'd like - and we should. For the blessings come from Him, gladly, richly, and too bountiful for us to name. But it is time to start - time to start counting. Name them. For me? My Savior and knowing I will have a life in heaven is a true blessing. My family, full of love and support - many happy times. My job, giving me the opportunity to serve others and develop them. My church family, rich in faith and love.
So when we are stressed and can't believe all that we have to deal with - looking for the peace that passes all understanding, that is exactly the time when we need to TAKE the time to count the blessings God has provided for us. Take out the piece of paper, make a list, keep it and refer to it. This, too, will become a blessing for you as well.
"The God of peace be with you all. Amen." (NIV) Romans 15:33