Sunday, January 20, 2013

Through the Fog . . . To the Music

Through the Fog . . . To the Music

This past summer, August 4th, was a sunshine bright, comfortably warm, blue skies day in the Seattle area. It was a day that lived up to the song lyrics: 

“The bluest skies you’ll ever see are in Seattle.” 

Ah, I was so excited! 

I had been waiting months for this day. I had set aside the date to drive downtown, an 18 mile distance from my home. It was important to arrive at 1p.m. which was when tickets went on sale to the public for a future concert in the gorgeous Benaroya Concert Hall.

 This concert was to feature trumpet virtuoso, Chris Botti, in appearance with the Seattle Symphony. 

Ah, again!

Chris Botti is such a favorite musical artist to millions internationally, but all I cared about is that he is a favorite of mine. I could have ordered tickets online but I preferred to deal with a live person at the box office who I knew would search out the best seats I could afford. Of course, I figured there would be a long line as Chris Botti is so popular. 

I arrived in record time, got a quick parking space in the concert hall garage, (free for folks purchasing tickets), found my way upstairs. and not one soul was in the lobby. But a wonderful clerk was at the box office! He had me set up in no time with a ticket for an exceptionally low fee. I would be sitting in the center section on the main floor, six rows from the stage. 

How could I let this joy-filled day in Seattle pass me by and not drive over to our city’s Pike Place Market Center, which was only 3 blocks from the concert hall?  Here, the aisles are filled with vendors selling:

 fresh produce,
 fresh seafood, 
craft items,
 all kinds of wares,
the most abundant 
array of fresh flowers.

 I am sure the flowers would fill up acres were they still growing in the fields. This section of the market is one feast for the eyes. 

It seemed that all Seattleites had found their way to the market this sunny day. It took 3 trips around a series of blocks to finally find a parking spot that would meet my needs. I did not plan to stay long, just long enough to buy some flowers to commemorate the joy of the day. 

Yes, a 30 minuted parking space was just the one for me! 

Photos were snapped, bouquets bought for a song of a price, and I was on my way back home exclaiming, 

“Oh, what a wonderful day,” 
and thanking God for all that had transpired.

That was August and the months rolled by. As I turned the calendar to the new year’s January pages,  January 17th was shining forth like a beacon!

Unlike the sunny skies of summer in Seattle, we were having cold weather, some rain, and the day before the concert date, unusual fog - low lying fog - and it was not expected to lift. 

With some anxiety, but more faith than anxiety, I anticipated the drive to the concert to be paved with the light of my anticipation, if not the bright light of the August summer day. I had 4 miles of road to drive from my home to reach the interstate freeway. I was open to common sense prevailing, as well.

The whole evening was quite an experience, on all levels. The roads were dry, the visibility driving to the concert was clear enough as the strong lights that bordered the freeway beamed down. Yes, fog was evident in their stream but not in the path of the road where I needed to see. It was early evening and the taillights of many cars also helped light the way.

I was reminded of a Scripture verse from Psalm 119:105a:

“By your words I can see where I’m going;
they throw a beam of light on my dark path” 
(The Message).

The desires set forth on that sunny summer day had found their fulfillment route opened. God calmed flickers of anxiety and nudged me to trust Him to clear the way! It meant seeking his music in spite of the fog. What a metaphor for our lives - at least for our lives with Him as our Guide.

His Light brought joy to my soul even with the fog evidenced, as I was safe inside the light, not the fog. It almost felt as if I was suspended in the scene and not doing the driving, although I was at the wheel.

It reminded me that when my life path is shrouded in fog, I need to listen for his guidance; to either wait, to cautiously walk a ways, or to know I can move ahead. He often brings songs during the dimmer times in my life. I know it is Him as my circumstances are scored in minor notes. I need his Presence to ward off any fears and to hear the song He has for me, the one He recored before all time. He knows each section of my life's road and when I will need a stronger touch from Him.

I would have missed a gorgeous evening, saturated in the beauty of those using their gifted musical talents to fill the hearts and souls of those present. I would have missed lively conversation with those who sat next to me and near me when there was an intermission break. All were experiencing joy!

The fog was heavier en route home at 10 p.m. and the roads less populated. Highway signs were barely visible until I was right to them. Once off the freeway, it was nearly eerie. But I knew the road. I knew the One at the wheel with me. I had the music of his Presence as well as the literal music from the evening filling me to the brim. It outshone any fog and will be a bright remembrance when other dim-filled times are present in my life.

It was not summer, but summertime was surely evident! 

The following song and artist were part of the Seattle evening.

featuring Caroline Campbell 
in Warsaw “here” - in Seattle 1/17

Tuesday, January 1, 2013



But the land you are crossing the Jordan 
to take possession of 
is a land
 of mountains and valleys 
that drinks rain from heaven. 
It is a land the Lord your God cares for; 
the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it 
from the beginning of the year 
to its end
(Deuteronomy 11:11-12).

     On the first day of each new year, I read this Scripture passage. It is a reminder that another year has arrived which will hold seasons of days. It seems a new beginning, a fresh slate for hopes and dreams; promises fulfilled. I want to take possession of what God has for me and at the same time, I want what He has for me to be very very good!

In the days leading up to the new year, 

as I am in the boat crossing the Jordan 
and leaving the shoreline of the year past

I ponder the days of the old year. I extract its highlights and if possible, peruse my daily journal entries to be reminded of the cries of my heart and the joys of my heart that I recorded so I’d not forget them. 

Some of these times stand out without going back to their written remembrances. 

In recall, through the written words, 
in the moments that they occurred, 

when all was fresh in the unknowing of what was to come, 
in the wondering, 
in the despairing,
in the prayers typed out,
in Scriptures that brought hope,
in the rejoicing of times of delight,

I am grateful I took time to record the days.

Yes, there definitely were mountains and there definitely were valleys. There were also the days where life went on as is usual with the basic tasks that each of us need to accomplish.
 I came through them all! 
It is important to remember this reality because I will face joys and challenges in the year ahead. 
Knowing what lies behind, I garner up confidence walking into the unknowns of the new days to come. I will walk with the awareness of God’s faithfulness to me during all of my past days. 
He guided me then. 
He will guide me with the fresh steps I take 
if I choose to let him.

True, the Lord cares about the land and the year, but He cares about me more. 
His presence is steadfast. 
His eyes are continually on me. 
He desires me to cooperate with him. 
He accompanies me with his grace.
I need not dwell on each day of the whole new year. That would be overwhelming. God sees those days ahead. I release them into his hands. I commit to accepting his grace as I live out one day at a time. 

Will I discover it to be a mountain day
 or a valley day 
or somewhere in between? 

Maybe it will be a day comprised of all three!

As I read this Scripture, I know that I will have questions as some of my days emerge.
 That is alright. 
The seasons from my other years 
have helped me to recognize 
that my not- knowing is 
simply part of God’s all-knowing. 

He sees the land’s obstacles. 
      I trust and follow his lead. 
    I become a seasoned traveler by 
choosing to accept 
both the mountain and the valley days

Each nourishes me as I drink the rain from heaven,
God’s presence itself.

 Lord, you are my constant comforter 
as I face the seasons of my life 
and the unknowns of each new day. 
Thank you for being 
my hope, 
my trust, 
and my guide 
as I treasure You in each moment.

Mt. Baker

as viewed from 
Mt. Constitution
Orcas Island, Washington
Photo by Lynn