Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heaven and the Ice Storm



On a recent frosty morning, Barley and I set out on our usual morning walk through the woods, Barley with his stick, me with my Nikon.  Barley is always searching for bones as I look for beauty, but on that particular morning, it was hard to look past the effects of the ice storm of January 27, 2009.  Beginning that night, three years ago, a large swath of country, from Missouri and Arkansas east, was gripped by its effects, with downed trees and power outages, which lasted in some places for as long as a month.  


Before that time, I had never thought of ice as being devastating, but all that night, with over 3/4 inch of ice coating everything, large branches and trees fell to the ground, shattering with a sound like gunshots.


The view from our windows the next morning was chilling, and the ground around the house was a maze of broken trees and branches.  It took months to get our grounds cleaned up. Since that time we've reclaimed a few trails through the woods, but we won't live long enough to clean up all the woods on this acreage.

Now, after all this time, the devastation in the woods is not too obvious in the summer, when leaves cover some of the damage, or at least draw the attention away, but in the winter, it can look pretty stark.  I usually point my camera away from this rubble, or crop it out, because there is always some beauty to be found.

I'm not saying this to elicit sympathy, but rather to inject a dose of reality into my sometimes rosy look at the world.  After all, we all see ugliness, in one form or another, and we deal with it in various ways.

Along with the ground nesting wildlife, and, of course, the termites and spiders, I'm growing to appreciate this old, battered woods, because it reminds me that ultimately, my hope doesn't lie in this world.  Those broken trees waken that longing in me for the place Jesus promised to those who love Him, where:
...there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  Rev. 21:4
Your eyes will see the King in His beauty, and view a land that stretches afar. There the Lord will be our Mighty One; it will be a place of broad rivers and streams.  Isaiah 33:17, 20
 "I am going to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:2, 3

Back down to earth on that particular day, we followed the trail to a quiet, grassy opening in the woods, rimmed by cedars.  There, the ground is rocky; no trees have found a foothold. But Barley found a bone.

You could say that I found beauty that day, too, but not just the kind we see with our eyes.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18 


pens and needles said...

Wonderful thoughts, Connie. I must confess that I have not reached the point of wishing for heaven -- I sing about it and wish that I wished for it, but I'm not there yet. Perhaps that says something about my immature faith, but it is what it is. However, I do yearn for a place of no sickness or pain or
suffering of friends and family, of no failures on my part, and of other PERFECT states of being. Some people thing heaven will be like earth, only without all those bad and negative and painful things. I do yearn for that... just haven't been able to yearn for John's vision.

hannah said...

It does sound as if some of these branches were ready to come down and that it might be looked upon as some cleansing?
Like fire in some woods brings about renewal.
Still, not nice to lose your walking trails.
(you've got mail).

*Manja* said...

Tolle Foto`s.
Liebe Grüße,*Manja*

Sharon said...

"...Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." Rev 22:20
Thank you, Connie, for reminding me that this world of sadness and heartache is not our home, just the place God has asked us to share His love to those around us, until He comes. Maranatha!

Catherine Fruisen said...

Beautifully stated, Connie. Your words and photos remind me that life is full of stuff we prefer to "crop out," and that not all messes are easily or quickly cleaned up. But there is still beauty, even in the mess. "Life is full of light and shadow," as David Crowder sings.



Pam said...

wonderful thoughts you shared here....i am so glad for the eternal hope we have, the promise of better things to come!

Jennifer Richardson said...

awesome analogy, Connie.
He is all of our hope
and everything we need,
isn't He:)

lisa said...

What a beautiful post Bonnie!
We had an ice storm that year also, and I remember feeling so frightened as I saw power lines coming down. Mother Nature can be a very, very scary and humbling force indeed.

Happy Valentine's Day to you, and thank you so much for sharing with us this week at The Creative Exchange.

Have a great evening!


Pieces of Sunshine said...

The reality of this earth is beauty mixed with ugliness and imperfection. Our hearts long for beauty and love and wholeness which is only found in God and ultimately in heaven.

S. Etole said...

So many good thoughts shared here. Thank you.

Jacqueline @ Deeprootsathome.com said...

Connie, this is a lovely post filled with hope and truth. Our world is only part of our reality, but there is an unseen reality and you touched on it beautifully. We long for that new Earth. I especially long for the beauty of Christ! Would you consider linking up this post tomorrow? It focuses us on Jesus!

Lui said...

I agree, Connie!
Paradigm shift: we alter the way we perceive things or look deeper to those we normally ignore. I walk slowly around my heaven and saw a lot of marvelous things which our hurried eyes and pace failed to see.

I think when Jesus said that there is a place somewhere better (no death, no mourning, etc.) it is that everlasting place that can only be reached and enjoyed without the burden of our physical selves.

Surprisingly, it is in that place where we are most fulfilled!

A happy hearts day to you and Barley! He looks adorable!

Sweepy said...

I heart Barley and Connie!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

All so very pretty and I especially love that Barkley!!! Connie, what a beautiful message. While I am not ready in the physical, emotional part to enter heaven, I know that my spirit will be willing when my day comes and that is the most important thing for each of us~

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Wonderful thoughts.

Regards and best wishes

Pat said...

A beautiful post. Something to think about. A picture of Barley. All good.

deb duty said...

It's a shame that something so beautiful is so destructive at the same time.

Jacqueline @ Deeprootsathome.com said...

I do thank you again for bringing such great perspective! J