I looked in the mirror closely this week and noticed some lines around my mouth that I have never given heed to before. I don't know what I would call them. Oral crow's feet? It makes me wonder if chemotherapy has in general made me look older. Perhaps the fine lines are simply the little valleys created in August and September where rivers of tears poured from my lachrymal glands, down my cheeks, and past my mouth. Maybe they will now be my battle scars, left to remind me of how my God has lifted me from the mire and set me upon His rock.
It has been hard in some ways to not be working. I do find myself in a season where I have turned inward and spend a chunk of my day reflecting, praying, and re-organizing my thoughts. While I certainly miss my co-workers, I am finding this time to be rich. I can't remember the last time in my life where I had months at a time set aside for soul assessment.
My dear friend Lee sent me a quote from a book called Captain Black's Flight to Heaven. It is about a plane crash survivor. In his recovery, and I so relate to all of this, he writes:
Up until then, I had always been a doer; now I was learning just to be. Not that I really had a choice in the matter. It was as if there had been an untimely frost and the seasons changed overnight. I went from the summertime of my life to the dead of winter without so much as a storm warning.
Someone once said, "In October, when the leaves fall, you can see deeper into the forest." It's true. So much foliage had fallen from my branching ambitions, and as a result, I could see deeper into the forest that was my life. I didn't feel I needed to be doing anything--playing among the trees or gathering firewood or trying to find some way of making money out of the forest. I could just be there and rest. It was good. It was part of my restoration.
Trees need the winter. I never knew that before. They need time to strengthen for the growth they experience in springtime. All that green, pulpy growth has to harden, or the tree would not be able to withstand the seasonal winds that whip against it.
I had experienced a lot of growth. Now was the time for the energy to be diverted from the branches to the roots. The roots of my faith were going deeper. Much of what was going on with me was going on underground, so to speak, beneath the surface, unseen. Growth can be a lonely place, but it is a necessary place.
And so my roots grow deeper, my faith grows sweeter, and the lines around my mouth......those little river valleys......are just part of my restoration.