This has been, at least for me, a difficult week. I witnessed the self-interested tendencies of man triumph over the rudiments of genuine friendship and loyalty. I have watched, just like the rest of the world, the horrors of another superlative disaster. I have heard toxic and careless words uttered by men of position, and then I have watched as others surprisingly excused those words away, or as they have said nothing to rebuke those men. And to cap it all off, while sitting a traffic light in the middle of the night, at an ordinary intersection in the heart of a city, I have read words that confirm to me that a dangerous mix of hatred and anger is brewing inside of our society. (See the above.) All of this, in a few short days' time, had left me sad, disappointed, and more uncertain about the road ahead.
This morning, when I woke, I really did not want to rise out of bed. I was just too disgusted with my circumstances and with this world to even want to take part in it. Sometimes, even the eternal optimist has his moments of doubt and of fear, I guess. But my desire to simply resign my worries to the rest of the world, to simply lie still in solitude, was not meant to be, for, out of nowhere, from another room, came a loud crash...
For those of you who do not share my strong faith, the rest of this post will seem quite out of place, and I will easily respect your desire to stop reading it. But I must go on.
At first, while lying there, I thought to myself that the cat must have managing to knock something onto the hardwood floor. Patches (my cat) is a curious, old lady, and she has a righteous affinity for plastic shopping bags. (I imagine that is because, everytime a new shopping bag comes into the house, there is something inside of it for her. LOL.) Well, that presumption might have been enough for me to ignore the sound entirely and stay in bed, sulking in a mild depression, except for the fact that Patches was not in another room. She was lying right next to me, and she was looking at me as if she knew that I needed to go and check it out. And so, I did, knowing that, if Patches did not drop something, something else had to have done it.
I walked into the room where I suspected the sound to have originated, and on the floor, sitting on its side, was a single Pier One fragrance canister. The metallic, aerosol canister had been on a dresser for some months now, untouched and nowhere near the edge. After picking it up from the floor, I glanced around the room, looking for any indication of how this canister might have fallen. There was nothing. No windows left open. No nearby objects that could have pushed it over. No sign of anything else moved or disturbed. Nothing...I huffed for a second, and then I turned back to see my buddy Patches sitting in the hall, just watching me. "I guess that was just God's way of saying 'get up', huh?" I said to the cat. And she replied with a single meow, before strutting back toward the kitchen to await a breakfast that she never bothered to touch. LOL.
I spent a little time thinking about that canister this morning, trying to figure out what would have caused it to fall from the dresser, and then I remembered that I had dropped something yesterday, also. It was a bookmark. As I was walking away from the car, somehow, the metal tab holding place in the latest book that I am reading fell onto the street. I really did not think to much of it. In fact, I simply picked it up, and put it back into my book. Well,this morning, I was thinking...The canister and bookmark have the same metal finish...I really do like that bookmark...I don't remember the inscription on that bookmark...Of course, at that point, I had to go and get it, and when I did, I paused for a moment.
The words on the metal bookmark with the cupped tip are quite clear. On that cupped edge, there is a single word: FAITH. And along the surface of the bookmark, there is a quotation: "All of the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle."
I might be reaching here, but I really believe that He--yes, I mean Him--was telling me something more than "get up".
It is easy to let confusing circumstances or the troubles of the world get you down. The negative thoughts and depression are, in fact, the best way for discourage anyone and hamper their path. But we are not supposed to let that stop us. We are supposed to "Get Up!" and keep going. And where it is called onto us to do so, we are supposed to be that singular light in the darkness, a small but persistent force fueled by nothing more than a faith in something greater.
I usually never get downright depressed and want to stop striving, these days. In fact, after my bout of Great Depression a few years ago, before I formed Axiom, I thought that I had overcome that. This morning, though, without even realizing it, I was slipping back into that helpless state of mind. Fortunately, He was not about to allow it to go on. I might have setbacks in this life, and I might see, hear, and read some things that I will never understand. But I have to get up each day and keep going; I have to remember that the calling on my life is greater than me, and that I cannot simply give up because of a few disappointments from time to time. This journey, after all, was never meant to be totally straight, predictable, or clear of obstacles.
As I conclude this post about falling aerosol canisters and dropped bookmarks, I am reminded of a passage from the New Testament. The apostle Paul was jailed in Rome, and he found his mission of spreading the story of Jesus Christ upended. Even still, he found ways to get his words out to the world--not in sermons, but in letters. One such writing included these words:
...I do not count myself to be apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things
which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press
toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, I must try to always remember that, while this world is not perfect, there is, indeed, more beyond our simple understanding of it. I must try to remember that, while there might be signs of avarice, of prejudice, and of destruction, there are other signs, as well--signs of hope, of indulging strength, and of better things to come. And sometimes they will come in the form of an inscription on a bookmark. For that reason, I have to "get up", dust myself off, and perserve.