My 2018, so far, has been full of kindness. My situation has not yet changed for the better, but it’s as if the Lord is determined to shower me, in the midst of all the chaos and unknowns, with sweet little reminders of his affection.
- Random strangers shouted, “Bless you!” from across the street, two different times, two different places, as I sneezed.
- A good friend has committed to checking on me once a week, until I no longer want or need her to.
- Facebook friends and family were astonishingly generous with their praise when I (uncomfortably) posted a photo of me all dressed up for a night out to see Hamilton with my kiddo.
Small gestures, these, but I have felt them like water on a thirsty ground. They are reminders that I have value.
Speaking of thirsty ground, one of my favorite places in the world has been offering up its kindnesses, too: the Anza-Borrego Desert. I discovered it in the spring of 2017, during the superbloom that resulted from unusually heavy winter rains, and it was instant love.
Its 600,000 wild acres of mountains, sand, canyons, and badlands seem to whisper to my soul. I find I can breathe freely in its wide-open spaces. (And the night skies, oh my goodness. The tiny little village in the middle of the desert, Borrego Springs, is an International Dark Sky Community [more info here], so there are no streetlights for 50 miles in any direction. You’ll never find a more perfect view of the Milky Way.) So I get out there as often as I can, sometimes to stay the night, sometimes just to take my little Renegade off-roading, but always to hear the Lord and regain a bit of equilibrium. I dream of building an artists’ retreat there someday – there’s a robust art scene in Borrego Springs – where people can come and be inspired by the harsh beauty of the land. And, of course, I will use it, too.
I was wandering around the Borrego Art Institute last summer, and I began speaking with one of the ladies who worked there. I found myself telling her about my artists’ retreat dream, and the next thing I knew, she was showing me vacant lots all around the area. We had an instant connection, something that rarely, if ever, happens to me, and I came away from that day feeling the Lord’s hand over me like a warm shelter. I looked for her on subsequent visits, but I always seemed to miss her – until this last weekend. I had a tough week and drove out to the desert on Saturday, journal, Bible, and snacks in hand. I spent some time writing, but as the sun began going down and the winds picked up, it got chilly, so I decided to go check out the latest exhibit at the Art Institute. And there she was at her desk. Her cheery “How ARE you?” led to me unloading about my life, which led to her and her coworker praying over me right then and there, which then led to an invitation to her home that evening. And when I walked in her door, it was as if I had known her and her husband my entire life (in fact, her husband had said something similar when she showed him the photo of us she had insisted on). Soon I was covered with cats and little, yappy dogs, and a fantastic conversation ensued. By the end of the evening, this older couple had wrapped me in a cocoon of love and total acceptance, had opened their home to me anytime I should want it, and prayed over me again. I think that night’s sleep was the best I’ve had since coming to California. The next morning, I got texts detailing what a blessing I was to them.
Y’all. I barely know what to do with all this kindness, but something deep in me is so hungry for it. I, too, am thirsty ground, and here come the gentle, soaking rains. It feels like I have things to learn yet, but they are not harsh lessons. I can hardly believe that I might get to learn what it feels like not to be cracked and dry.
“And yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave [me] rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying [my heart] with food and gladness.” — Acts 14:17, New Pellucere Version 🙂
I am so thankful for his kindness.