What Could Happen

Up early and uncertain whether I had again gratefully “woken up well”, I walk outside to see the pink sky in the distance, wishing our home was set either on a hill or not bordered by tall trees and houses.

If that were so, I could see the wide morning. Instead, I look upward and the half moon is above me, surrounded by the remnant of two clouds breaking thinly away.

I wished for a different sky. I had hoped the day would bring rain.

A rainy day that could give permission for thinking, make seclusion seem more pleasant.

On this day, nineteen years ago, destruction changed our country, altered our thinking of what could happen.

For years, the color code marking threat bordered our television screens.

For days on end I wondered when it would happen again, certain that it could. Another attack by people who hated us, another planned explosion in places where people congregated.

It could happen again.

For now, there are other “coulds”, the resounding murmuring amongst one another.

Rather than explosion, I sense a subtle threat to our togetherness, I fear we are imploding, a caving in.

Don’t get too close, she may be sick. Don’t touch the door, it could have the viral contaminated touch of someone else. Don’t forget your mask, don’t let your worn out mask shift and uncover your nose.

Don’t hug the friend you encounter that you’ve not seen in years.

You could get sick, you could make others unwell. You could cause pain to others.

This predisposition to high alert stances based on what could happen is much like a phrase I’m just now embracing.

Don’t borrow trouble.

Two hours ago, I woke up too early. I was thirsty and had what my grandma called a “dull” headache. I moved from my bed to the kitchen for water.

Today, I did not pray, “thank you God, I woke up well.”

But, now I am because I was sullenly anticipating dread. I was alert to what could happen because of it happening all around me, inundated with a sense of foreboding,

A man in the Bible, mentioned just a couple of times, Jabez confronted his predisposed “could happens” with a prayer that God answered.

“Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.”
‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The mother of Jabez chose his name that meant pain and told him so, of all the brothers, his birth had caused her great pain.

Could it be so for us? That we acknowledge what harms could come our way and simply ask God to prevent them.

Knowing He can?

I’m not so naive to live the fairy tale that all pain can be avoided. This world, our country gets more angry and full of fear and evil every day.

Still, I can open my hand to heaven now and again later and say “Thank you, I am well. It is well. I will not fear. You are near.”

Like Jabez, I can set my intentions on what God can do not what could happen.

I love to think of other choices that could have been made by people in the Bible. Jabez knowing he was least likely to have a life without pain based on his name could have chosen to cower, could have accepted his position among his brothers, to be careful, to fear pain, to prepare for the worst case scenarios and so, to hide away.

He didn’t. He asked God for the ability to see opportunities, to be kept safe in his pursuit of them and to live a life from which we get the phrase, not just blessed; but, blessed indeed.

The purple flowers that seem to be summer withered have sprinkled petals heavy from humidity all along the border.

I bent over to try to see the sunrise in the distance and noticed a new thing.

The scent from the purple bloom. All summer long I’ve walked past and now almost mid-September, my attention was drawn.

The sweet smell of still hanging on, the still tint of soft indigo and lavender, the gift of finding beauty in my subdivided back yard.

The firm decision not to borrow trouble; instead to be aware of it and to ask God to keep me from it.

Then to remember, not knowing how or if or whether it was sudden.

God granted what he asked.

He will for us as well.

This truth I shall remember when I ponder “what could”.

Remember only the possibility of good.

Our lives are not what are circumstances say they are, rather they are what God says “could happen” if we trust Him.

If we continue, continue and believe.

This post was prompted by the word “could” from Five Minute Friday (I link up although I’m rarely five minutes or under in thinking or writing.) Read others’ words here:

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Could {+ free training for writers}

Be Well

For a long time, very long time, we all remembered and talked about the time.

I’ve never been to New York City nor D.C.. I’ve never travelled by plane although I’m beginning to entertain the possibility, romanticize the big “6-0”.

I do remember the morning of 9/11. I remember I was at DFCS in my little square office with a window on a hallway with other “welfare” workers who I considered friends.

I loved working with these people. I did.

My mama called, the children were in school an hour away and I cannot remember whether we closed the office and all of us went home.

Eventually, I was with them, home and safe with my husband.

Changed, not because I knew anyone there nor remotely understood their trauma, fear, tragedy. I had no idea.

I have no idea.

Yesterday evening, social media informed me of the death of a popular young pastor and mental health pioneer,

By suicide.

I felt afraid because of his story, suicide and its occurrence is to me “scary”.

Because it’s happening more and because I’ve been with those who have been knocked down by the tragic reality.

I find it scary.

I’m following the journey of a child named Eva, in an induced coma now and it all started with a tumble to the ground, a simple fall.

Her mama wrote about hope this morning in her Instagram.

I began to think about life and hope.

About tragedy interspersed with triumph because it seems to me this is life in this world, in most of our worlds.

I remember my mama calling on 9/11.

I remember the morning my brother called to tell me my mama was gone.

The loud moan that came up from my belly that morning must have frightened my admin, the others in the office next door.

She was gone.

I had prayed so very hard she’d be healed. I had talked with her about faith and hope, brand new and uncomfortable things for me.

Things I thought were real, my mama’s death like a test I failed, my hope was either wrong or not enough.

I stopped believing.

Because, she was gone.

Mornings like that, losses and tragedies linger.

Tragedy is interspersed with triumph though.

This is life.

I believe it.

So, how did I continue, they continue…the ones for whom today brings fatal remembrances?

I believe we must choose as best we can with God’s help.

To be well.

Be the one who is able to say.

It is well. Even so, it is well. Even though, it is well. Although and even if, it is well.

I have this hope in God, in Christ Jesus.

It is evident.

Hope that says despite the very worst scenarios…

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:21‬ ‭ESV

Not a vacant or mystical hope, there are reasons for my hope.

A baby I call “morning glory” because it fits, evidence of long and woeful answered prayers and a new sense of God being near me, of Jesus being personally acquainted with me, in spite of tragedy and triumph and every mistake , silly or serious misstep in between.

It is well.

Be well.

Decide to fight for yourself, to believe without the full understanding of why.

That God is sovereign.

And so.

It is well.

It is well with you.

And me.

All of us often out of rhythm, rocked by loss of life, out of kilter because of uncertain outcomes,

We are dwelling between two spaces, tragedy and triumph.

Reality.

But, glory, new glory comes every morning and often if you notice, it’s interspersed in the midst of moments.

Continue.

Continue and believe.