Friday, October 28, 2005

Who Ordered The Chaos?

This last week I was sharing with a coworker about some of the latest challenges that have presented themselves in our otherwise quiet empty nest. Being a devoted christian and avid gardner she had some Godly advice that was seasoned with down to earth examples from her garden that an old hippie like myself could relate to. I love it when Father talks to his kids in the garden, after all that is where it all began - in his garden.

One of her favorite metaphors about life and its unexpected trials comes from her love of gardening. She asked me if I was familiar with English Gardens and the concept of "Ordered Chaos". I joked about not placing any orders for chaos, how I didn't remember ordering this current situation and I certainly didn't request this super sized order of chaos. After a brief chuckle she went on to explain that "Ordered Chaos" is the term used to describe the way an English Garden is planted. The intent is to recreate a natural looking space, like a small meadow bursting with wild flowers untouched by human hands. The appearance of the garden is chaotic and random but in fact it is planed with great care and it is quite deliberate in its design and execution.

To the observer the English Garden is totally random and without any visible hint of design, just as life's trials can appear seemingly senseless and without purpose. The truth is that there is a designer that has every situation under his control, no matter how horrific the pain or how mind numbing the confusion, the Father loves us and holds us in his hands. Our challenge isn't getting through the chaos, but rather understanding that the chaos isn't so random and senseless. The challenge is to learn to trust God in the depths of darkness knowing that he will bring us through it, hopefully stronger and more compassionate, able to help others in their painful time of chaos.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

We may never understand the reasons for the chaos beyond learning to trust Father in every situation. It is in trusting him that the chaos begins to loose its ability to hide the designers hand.

Peace, Love, and Light through Jesus the Christ!
Kevin (Cloud)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Get The Tent And Pack The Pampers Grandma...

My wife and I joined a new club two weeks ago... we now belong to one of the fastest growing segments of our population - Grandparents raising Grandchildren. In California there are nearly 300,000 grandparents raising grandchildren, more than any other state. Read A Profile Of California Grandparents Raising Grandchildren for some interesting stats and check out Grandparents Raising Grandchildren for links to some great resources.

We don't know how long we will be raising our beautiful granddaughter. We just want to love her and provide the best care possible while her mommy & daddy get their act together. If they don't pull it together right away we could be faced with a permeant placement and adopt her in as few as six months.

This was not what we had planned for our empty nest years, but you know how plans go. We had enjoyed the roomy nest for about three years and raising a second brood wasn't even on our list of things to do. Jamaica, now that was on our list. Travel cross country, sure we could just pick up and go at a moments notice. Save for retirement, well it was somewhere on the list.

I never saw this coming! Sometimes I wish that I had a crystal ball, perhaps we could have taken an early retirement and headed out for the open road. Now the hobby-computer room may have to be redecorated with pink frills and fuzzy animals and vacations may have to be scaled down to trips to the local zoo.

But what if we had runaway from home? I would have missed out on all those toothless grins that my beautiful granddaughter gives me at 4 a.m. - nothing in the world could equal those moments when she looks me in the eyes and gives me a great big smile!

I think that we have a new travel companion. There is a new little face to help fill up our vacation photo albums, a precious little princess to help us explore new wonders, someone to share the Father's Creation with while making smores over a campfire in the redwoods. Get the tent and pack the pampers Grandma - we're going camping!

Peace, Love, and Light through Jesus the Christ!
Kevin (Cloud)