Prayers from the Island Friend and Foe

Friend and Foe

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When we moved to FL from MI, we were given weird tales of flora and fauna.  Gators that lurked everywhere, dining each evening on cats and dogs.  Snakes, all poisonous, hiding under each leaf, eager to puncture and inject their venom.  Poisonous plants and trees, scorpions and centipedes, millipedes and giant cockroaches—creeping, crawling, and flying horrors that seemed overwhelming.  I’ve lived here now for 24 years, and my life is one of peaceful détente. Yes, there are poisonous creatures, but their poison is chiefly a defensive mechanism; if left alone, they tend to hurry away.  Should such a creature be more persistent, the hose usually does the job.  There are, it’s true, some unwelcome creatures here that bite with unpleasant consequences, but similar creatures exist in most other places as well.  All in all, I am in awe of the world around me.  Live and let live is our general philosophy since we are the newcomers.  To see the beauty and variety of the world around me is to see God in all of His creative energy.

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Sharp WordsSharp Words

 I’m limping a bit today with a sore foot.  Yesterday I stepped on a piece of broken glass, a bottle someone took to the beach and left.  In time the wave’s action would have dulled the gleaming shard into a matte piece of opaque glass, but it was new and fresh when my foot stepped on it, able to slice through bare skin.  I think of those sharp words I speak to others when I’m annoyed, impatient, or angry.  They too slice and hurt, cutting into someone’s sense of self-worth.  If I had held them back, I could have dulled their impact like the wave’s action on the glass.  Forgive me, Father, and help me seek forgiveness from those who have been wounded by my jagged, cutting words.  May I speak your truth in a way that heals rather than hurts. Amen.

 

Cry in the DarkCry in the Dark

 Last night as I lay in bed, I heard an owl hooting softly in the darkness.  I thought of the terror that ‘hoot’ must bring to the small and even larger creatures who live in harmony with us—crabs, mice, snakes, feral cats, young raccoons and possums—all must listen to that sound with fear in their hearts, burrowing deeper into whatever secure niche they’ve found.  I think too, as I lay there, of the sounds I hear in the night that trouble me—an ambulance racing past, the shriek of a wounded animal, even voices from my past that accuse or blame me, voices that name sins I’ve committed.  I thank you, Lord, for the secure niche you’ve given me, and the assurance that in your love I am forgiven.  May I ask forgiveness of others and grant it to all who’ve wronged me.  May my night be a time of peaceful rest. Amen.

 

The Perfect GiftThe Perfect Gift

Because the island is fairly remote, I do much of my Christmas shopping by mail, combing through stacks of catalogs that arrive each day and searching for perfect gifts. I’m suspicious of ‘one size fits all’ tags, and doubt if most ‘unisex’ gifts are really welcomed by either sex. Pictures can be deceiving too; sometimes I’m not very good at judging size, and I’ve ordered what I thought was an impressive gift only to receive a very tiny version instead. It’s difficult to find gifts from a distance, and I tend to agonize over each selection. At this time of year I can’t help but think of the gift God chose to give to humans—the gift of his only begotten Son. One size fits all, unisex, flawless and everlasting; truly this is the perfect gift to solve all human problems. Perfect for young and old, and all ages in between. Thank you God, for this unique gift that continues through the centuries to give hope, resurrection, and eternal life. Amen.