Showers of Blessings (We Are Still Looking Up)

(Mr. Gnome dreams of spring)

When I was young and would count the days ‘til something exciting (like Christmas or summer vacation or my birthday, which is, by the way, this week) occurred, I’d say to Mama, “I wish it was next week already!”

She’d always look at me with a wistful smile and say, “Oh honey, don’t wish your life away. Life is precious.”

I think of that often, especially since Mama died much too soon of ALS. In her last days, she often reminded us of how precious life is. And I thought of it in the waning days of 2010, when I found myself counting the days until I could bid farewell to 2010, a year that was truly awful, on both a national and personal level.

We did have a White Christmas, though I wasn’t dreaming of it. It was a  lovely snow—the kind that covers everything, transforming even the ugliest surfaces with its pure white magic. It was as if the Universe was trying to wipe the memories of all the awfulness of the year from my mind and to remind me to always look for beauty and to never forget that, even in the ugliest of situations, there is usually hope for transformation.

Thankfully, though, the snow was gone and the skies clear a week ago last Monday as Tom, Ariel, Benjamin, and I made our way in the darkness across our yard to wait for the Quadrantid meteor shower. We huddled together in the biting cold, our necks craned and our eyes on the northern skies.

As we waited, we reminisced about all the times as a family that we’d watched meteors streaking towards earth and told stories we’d heard from others about their meteor experiences. I told of one story I’d been told by someone we all knew. He’s one of those people who seem to live a charmed life, where blessings and good fortune seems to be an everyday thing (as illustrated by my story). He and his wife, after a perfect evening of celebrating their anniversary (and many happy and prosperous years), stepped out on their deck to look at the clear evening sky. He turned to his wife and said, “Wouldn’t it be the perfect end to the evening to see a falling star?”

Yep, you guessed it. At that very moment, a bright meteor streaked across the sky. Now, I was truly happy for them when I heard the story, but a small petulant voice in my head said, “Why always them, God? Why not me, too?” I always imagine God rolling his eyes when he hears that whiny voice in my head. It’s got to be really annoying. :-)

So that night, as we searched the dark skies for Quadrantid meteors, I turned to Tom and said, “Go ahead—say it. Say, ‘Wouldn’t it be the perfect end to our evening to see a falling star?’” So Tom laughed and said it, and we all looked up eagerly, laughing…but hoping, too. Alas, we didn’t see a single meteor that night, though the stars were bright and beautiful.

So, the next morning, at 5:45AM, as Tom and I were standing on the porch (I get up with him to make his lunch and see him off to work every day), I mentioned that there was still the possibility of Quadrantid meteors, though the peak was the night before. I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we saw one right now?” We both looked towards the northeast, which was beginning to brighten slightly with the rising sun. Nothing. I sighed and kissed Tom goodbye, watching him make his way across the yard to his truck. Then I turned back towards the mountains, stars, and Venus visible in the East.

At that very moment, a meteor flashed directly across my line of sight—a brilliant, bright streak hurtling towards earth. It only lasted a split second, but I gasped, my mouth agape, and shouted, “Oh God!”

I laughed out loud then, imagining God answering and saying, “Yes? You called?”

I looked up and said, “Thank you,” knowing He was listening. He always is, even when I don’t sense it, just as meteors fall even when I’m not looking.

Sure, I know it could have been just a coincidence. Sometimes things like that are. But I don’t think this was. I think God knew just how badly I needed to see that, how much my puny faith needed that boost. It’s been a hard year, and sometimes we’ve just barely been able to dog paddle to keep our heads above water as wave after wave has washed over us. But, thank God, we are still paddling. We are still breathing, still looking upward, seeking always signs, wonders, and miracles. It’d be such a shame to miss a single one.

Because sometimes they happen when you don’t expect them, in the twinkling of an eye, when you’ve almost given up hope. Sometimes, God reveals Himself in surprising and even whimsical ways. For that, I am so grateful.

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30 Responses to “Showers of Blessings (We Are Still Looking Up)”

  1. Sharon Scherner Says:

    All of us are glad that there was a birthday for you back in the beginning of Beth, and that there is another one this week! May it be a good one. Love this post. Those boosts of faith are the best, aren’t they?

  2. clairz Says:

    And, Beth, as your beautiful photographs show, even while we are waiting for that one perfect moment–the meteor streaking through the sky–we are surrounded by the blessings of loving family and wondrous nature. If only we remember to look around and see.

    I think I’ll go sit in the Beth chair on the porch for a minute and send you my thoughts of love and birthday wishes.

  3. Betsyfromtennessee Says:

    What a wonderful post, Beth… YES—God, through nature, gives us some wonderful things at times –most of the time, when we need them the most. I know when I see a gorgeous sunrise –I just know that God is smiling right at me. Or a sunset… or a rainbow…

    God’s love smiles on us in so many ways… Sometimes we don’t even notice…

    Wonderful thoughts, Beth… I loved them.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

  4. Elora Says:

    Beth,

    Careless me, I’ve lost your email address. Could you please email me at:

    elora@citynet.net

    Thanks much!
    Elora

  5. sweetflutterbys Says:

    Beth, what a beautiful post. I can’t help but think that God lets us experience those difficult times to build our characters. I’d much rather spend my time with people who have been through the tough times and have learned from them than anyone else. They have a wisdom and patience that few people have.

  6. Darla Says:

    Lovely photos, Beth. And the story is wonderful — unexpected miracles! :-)

  7. Nancy Says:

    Oh, Beth, how beautiful- the thoughts, the pictures…and you. I’m so glad you’re writing! Thank you.

  8. wesley Says:

    Just…beautiful. Words can’t even express how beautiful.

  9. Jayne Says:

    Alright missy… come clean… WHEN is your birthday???? Please email me and let me know as you KNOW I want to be able to remember it!

    What a wonderful story Beth. Isn’t it the truth? When we are least expecting it, He will send us something to make our jaws drop. He’s always there. We just forget to smile and greet him. :c)

  10. June Says:

    What a lovely piece!

  11. Debi Says:

    I knew it! See, the signs are there if we are open to the possibilities and we don’t give up. This story reminds me of seeing all those butterflies when my mother died.

  12. Martha Says:

    I’m so glad I always save your blog post for last; it always puts a smile on my face. This was such a lovely post, Beth; the words, the photos – all beautiful. I guess we all need a little boost from God once in awhile, a small reminder that He is always there. I wish you a wonderful birthday and a very blessed year. May it be filled with everything that is good.

  13. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    Beautiful words, beautiful thoughts, beautiful photographs. And since you are keeping mum about the actual date, I guess I’ll just have to do this now (since TODAY could be your birthday). La, la, laaaaa (clearing my throat).

    Happy birthday to you,
    Happy birthday to you,
    Happy birthday, dear Beth,
    Happy birthday to you.

    (And many morrrrre!)

  14. Chris Says:

    Happy New Year! and Happy Birthday! I hope it’s all up from here! And I hope you see many more meteors.

  15. Elaine in Florida Says:

    I have read your posts for some time now and really do enjoy them. I especially love this one as the pictures are gorgeous!!!!! You mentioned your mother had ALS….my sister was recently diagnosed with the same condition….I don’t have much information about it, but am trying to understand as much as possible about it. Again….beautiful post…can’t wait for your next writing!

    Happy birthday week!!!!

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi, Elaine. Thank you for your kind words, birthday wishes, and for stopping by to say Hello. I’m very sorry to hear of your sister’s diagnosis—I know that must have been difficult for all your family. My heart goes out to you. There is, fortunately, a lot of information about ALS available on the Internet. One really helpful link is the ALS Association: http://www.alsa.org/ If you click on “In Your Community” at the top, it gives you information about different ALS chapters all over the country. My mama (and our family) found the local chapter to be an invaluable resource. She was able to go to support groups and meet other folks with ALS, plus they were able to offer a lot of very helpful advice about local resources, as well as information about ALS.

      All the best to you, your sister and your family…God bless you. And thanks again for stopping by!

      Beth

      • Elaine in Florida Says:

        Good morning, Beth. Thank you so very much for your prompt acknowledgement of my comments and I am extremely appreciative of your link to the ALS support web site. I have saved it to my “favorites” and can assure you I will be pouring over each and every word beginning today!!!! We were so very shocked at the diagnosis since she personally knows of at least a dozen folks in her immediate area who have been diagnosed with the same. We just are having problems with the diagnosis since we thought this wasn’t such a common ailment. She was tested at Bishop Gray in NC with pretty much the same outcome. Anyway….thanks for your blessings and please remember her in your prayers. Have a beautiful day!!!

        Elaine

  16. The Southern Lady Says:

    Hi Beth, My mother used to say “don’t wish your life away” all the time. Her voice came bouncing right back to me when I read your entry. I try very hard not to wish my life away for that very reason. I think every bad experience and every hard time we go through is for a reason. So many times I have questioned “why” and then years later realized it was for a reason. I went through a flash flood and ended up selling a lucrative business because it was such a traumatic experience for me. Now, years later I know why that happened. I would still be in that store with no retirement and working myself to death had that flood not happened. Instead, I moved, went back to a job I had done for 11 years and ended up retiring at age 55. So many things happen to us for a reason. I try to remember that “what goes around comes around, too”. I think if you are mean to someone or someone is mean to you, it will come back to you or to that person. Life is a wonderful thing and we should all cherish every minute we have in this world. Hope you are having a good weekend. Love and hugs.

  17. Angie Says:

    A beautiful post, Beth, and gorgeous pictures!! Happy Birthday!

  18. Vicki Lane Says:

    What a lovely story! And I especially like the picture of the sumac berries and the snow!

  19. Jes Says:

    Beautiful meditation on whimsy and beautiful snow pictures–I’m in love with where you live!

  20. eemilla Says:

    What a lovely post; I agree about the snow providing a blank slate and making everything, even ugly, mundane things, look fresh and magical. Even if it doesn’t get me out of work, I still look forward to snow days and get happy watching falling snow or even whirling flurries that dissipate upon arrival.

    What a wonderful birthday gift of a shooting star. I hope 2011 provides the blessing you deserve!

  21. Jeff Says:

    Sorry for the late comment – it’s been a busy time here! I’ve thought of you often because of the snowstorms in your area. My friend who lives in Mills River was unable to get out of his community for 6 days because of treacherous road conditions! I hope this year is much better for you, too – last year was not good for lots and lots of folks.

  22. eemilla Says:

    I’ve been thinking about what a challenge it is to be content with what you have and not concerned with what either you don’t have or your friends and neighbors do have. I feel like it is ingrained in me to not be content with now but rather to be constantly striving and wishing for the weekend or the next vacation. When things are really rough, I try to start the day thinking about all the good things and blessings I’m surrounded by.

  23. Debi Says:

    Where are you Beth? I had a dream about you.

  24. CountryDew Says:

    Happy Birthday, Beth. I hope your day was fantastic, with lots of shooting stars. Brilliant writing.

  25. Clara Melvin Says:

    Happy belated birthday wishes….I’m sorry I missed the day! May you be blessed with many many more.

  26. The Great Persimmon That Surpassed All Others « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    [...] there have been times that I was guilty of the same narrow vision. You might remember my post about looking for meteors. Nothing wrong with looking up, of course, but it’s important to remember what my friend, ClairZ [...]

  27. Lindy Says:

    Love your writings, the apples strewn on the ground, the blue heron, the gorgeous tree’s and scenes, your daughter’s wedding pics. Thank you for your beautiful blog and pictures and thoughts.
    I feel I want to write this quote:
    “Pale sunlight
    pale the wall.
    Love moves away.
    The light changes.
    I need more grace
    than I thought.” – Rumi

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Lindy—I am particularly grateful for your words today. I really needed to hear that, so thank you so much for commenting. I’ve been feeling just a bit insignificant of late—it’s always gratifying to think that your words matter.

      I love your quote. I first heard of Rumi on the Bill Moyers special “The Language of Life.” He’s quite wonderful!

      Thanks again!

      Beth

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