Dream Saga Series: Breaking Bread During the Storm
... well....you know the rest. Basically take the unpalatable sourness and add some pure cane sugar to it, some water and voila...refreshing sweet beverage.
But...what if it's a storm of stress of epic proportions? A swirling vortex of doubt and confusion. A hurricane of desperation and depression and you are heaving to and fro -- certain that you will be dashed upon the rocks ahead and drown in sight of the shore.
You eat bread.
If you are the Apostle Paul, you call a time out from the squall and have everyone sit down for a bite to eat...but more about that in a minute.
I've been blogging about watching my fledgling dream launch from the nest. And as I wait up on that branch to see if it will find its wings and soar, or tumble to the ground, I am learning a lot about myself and what I actually believe versus what I say I believe.
It's not been pretty.
It's easy to talk about faith and hope and knowing that God is going to come through. It's another to believe that when all the facts and information would say otherwise.
The window for God to intervene and give my dream some current winds to soar is rapidly closing.
The stark black and white lines on my calendar mock me with the circled date that I've narrowed down as the last day for God to "do something."
It's fast approaching.
We are selling our house.
Our house has been in escrow for three weeks today. No hiccups so far. It's what we've wanted for a long, long time.
But we aren't finding anything. Not what we want. Not in our price range.
So my brain is churning...wondering if I should settle for something...any piece of land or property to hold onto...someplace to park this equity that we will finally be netting.
But my heart is heavy. I don't want that to be the end story of my dream for a bigger home and land on which we can roam.
And if we don't settle, do we pack it all up and put it into storage and cram our six bodies in with family for a time while we wait? Or do we find an apartment? Do we look to rent the type of property we want and hang out there? And if we do that, why are we selling our house when we could be renting it out thereby still owning a house? (And round and round in a circle I go.)
At this point, I have come to the place where I've stopped dictating to God what I will and will not do. I am anxious to take any direction that God would give me. The problem is, the walkie-talkie is on, but I'm not receiving any transmission.
Thus, feeling like I am in that storm-tossed ship awaiting total destruction.
But Paul wasn't worried. God told him that He would spare every crew member and passenger's life. Even though the howling wind and the tumultous waves would indicate otherwise, Paul trusted God to bring them through.
Sure...he knew that the ship would wreck, but they would survive it.
Paul knew it and he tried to tell the others to trust God and stay the course and stay in the ship....in the middle of a storm that had "raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone." (Acts 27:20)
The sailors did what anyone else would do, they tried to get off that death trap.
"Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship. But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard.”
Just as day was dawning, Paul urged everyone to eat. “You have been so worried that you haven’t touched food for two weeks,” he said.
Then he took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it. Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat..." (Acts 27:30-36 NLT)
When I read that this morning, I was just a bit astounded. Despite the tempest ranting and raging around them, 276 people sat down and broke bread together.
Sometimes the very last thing we think we should be doing....is the very thing we should be doing.
Life goes on.
We need sustenance to survive, this is true.
But I think it was more than just getting food into a stomach.
This act had more to do with taking a moment to remember what is important in life. And, I'm not sure that anything brings this point home more than sharing a meal with someone.
When you share food you have to do a few things.
Be in close proximity -- close enough to really look someone in the eyes (this can be hard to do when you are flailing around in panic mode) and breathe. And talk. And smile. And maybe cry. But you do it face to face...and that's important.
Become aware of the blessing -- when you are so wound up with stress that you are either not eating or just cramming food down as fuel, you are not aware of the great blessing of each and every bite. Life is made to be savored, not endured.
Realize the storm will rage no matter what you do -- coming to grips with the fact we have no control over the situation -- thus taking the time to eat because in the scheme of things, it won't change the raging going on -- is good for the soul.
So, after a morning with a stomach that is flipping and churning with the unknown-ness of it all, I decided to take a lesson from Paul and sit down and eat some bread.
In our case, it was banana bread.
This kids cheer every time we make some and it's been awhile. So, instead of trolling MLS listings or Craig's List, or the newspaper, or posting up a storm on my Facebook wall about available properties, I measured out the flour and the sugar, cracked the egg and greased a baking pan.
My blood-pressure dropped a few points and my stomach stopped the tossing and turning and I enjoyed the process.
I read with my children while the loaf rose and wafted its delectable scent from the oven into our dining room.
And as I cut into the warm soft bread and slathered on the butter and served it to my children, I made sure to look each one in the eye and just breathe.
Yes...the storm is still raging. The boat may be indeed headed for destruction. But I am resting in the assurance that God knows exactly where I am, and he will not let me sink.