Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pink Oleander

Two months ago, I looked out my bedroom window at the mountains that surround Las Vegas. This was my corner of the house. I leaned against the cushions of my window seat, thinking about a study I would lead the next day. My phone rang. 

It was my rental agent, shaking up my world with the news that the owners of our home wanted to sell it. We were given thirty days to leave.

We had almost forgotten it wasn’t our home. After nine years we felt like owners. Our youngest daughter was born in our bedroom there. I planted roses and herbs in the backyard and replanted our desert lawn every year. For nine years I prayed in my corner of the house, looking out at the mountains. I studied. I wrote a book every year. I talked to God about grief and ill health and parenting. I found contentment as I came to accept God’s plan for me here in Las Vegas. I loved my window’s view. The sleek windows of Red Rock Casino a mile away reflected sunrises and sunsets, and a new mall nearby added a touch of neon to the neighborhood. 

We looked at the calendar and decided to move out a week before we were required to move. This would allow us to move during my husband’s spring break. It would also give us a chance to repaint a room. (Always get written permission to paint a rental home.) Three weeks from now, we thought in bewilderment. We collected boxes and found a new home to rent. In the midst of all the chaos, my husband spent four days in Georgia at the only conference his job has sent him to in twelve years. People volunteered to help wrap dishes and pack the garage.

Moving week is a blur of sheer exhaustion in my memory. 

Five weeks after the move, I am looking out my new bedroom window. There are no mountains in my view, no color-changing neon—only a concrete wall and the neighbor’s pink oleander bushes. 

I really really dislike pink.

Oleander is poisonous. 

I am living on autopilot—cooking and shopping and doing laundry, meeting friends for lunch, leading a class at church—but I cannot hear Jesus. I cannot feel Jesus. 

I have learned, in previous seasons, to keep at it. Keep praying. Keep talking to Jesus. He will speak.
I read a study on Joy a few months ago. I think I need to revisit it.

Listen, GOD! Please, pay attention!
Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries?
King-God, I need your help.
Every morning you’ll hear me at it again.
Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life
on your altar and watch for fire to descend. (Psalm 5:1-3 The Message)

photo credit: Oleander via photopin (license)

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