Monday, December 28, 2009

The Source

It was a picture-perfect autumn day. The sun shone brightly in a deep blue sky. Birds chirped as they flitted from branch to branch in the timber. You pulled the Bronco into a parking space near the trailhead that led to the lower dells. The three of us climbed out and prepared to hike into the coolness of the wooded bluff on our way to the tranquil banks of the Vermillion River meandering below. Erin was excited for the hike, as only a five-year-old can be. I put a polarizing filter on the camera lens and aimed toward the azure horizon. Lord, if you think a beautiful day is going to make anything better...

My mind was reeling. You reached for the camera bag and hoisted it over your shoulder. You always had a calm about you, seemingly taking things in stride. But I knew you were worried and struggling to regain your footing in yet another physical and emotional upheaval. The test results cast an ominous shadow over an otherwise perfect day. The cancer is back.

Suddenly a beautiful day became offensive to me. I resisted any inclination to take pleasure in the nature that surrounded us. We looked forward to hiking together each season, photographing our outings and the beautiful vistas. But this day simply wasn't enough to bring peace back into my troubled soul.

In the midst of emotional havoc, I thought God was using a nice day to somehow appease the malady that was occurring yet again. No matter how I tried, I couldn't reconcile the contradiction of a glorious day and the dreaded test results. How much more can you take? How long must you struggle with this illness and our lives be placed on hold before this disease finally yields to treatment? I hated knowing what was ahead for you - painful testing, chemotherapy, radiation. I despised it all. In this tranquil setting, a turmoil of doubt and fear broiled within each of us. Outwardly, we were going through the steps of another day. But inwardly we were struggling to digest the news and regain emotional balance.

And now, this day. This perfectly beautiful in every other way than the reality with which we were now confronted day became an object of contention. I wanted to embrace it, but if I did it would be like saying everything was fine when it so clearly was not. Then, an epiphany. The source of our strength is not in the day.

The revelation was so simple, yet so powerful in diverting my runaway thoughts. The weight lifted ever so slightly. The tension in my shoulders lessened. I could breathe again. We gathered our things and headed for the trail where we would spend the hours hiking and talking, offering assurance of our love and committment to one another, and allowing ourselves the smallest reprieve of a beautiful day spent together.


  1. Beautiful...a picture speaking a thousand words...

  2. God has greatly gifted you
    I enjoyed visiting your blog
    God Bless;

  3. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by, Anon and Bob.