My dad’s paintings are characterized by slight paths, hints of trails, or even dim traces of roads once traveled through stands of trees. The trails always curve out of sight. In the distance are the mountains, his beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.
Dad said life is like that–curves, mountains in the distance, and surprises just around the corner.
In nature the surprises may be: a waterfall, a doe in the trail, a hawk winging suddenly across the path. Or, on the dark side, a rattler coiled defensively, or a chasm with no way across. In everyday life surprises may be from an unusual encounter with an old friend, a flood in the basement, or a phone call from someone in dire need. It might be the spotting of a bird you haven’t seen lately. We have a lovely wood thrush visiting our feeder this week. I hadn’t seen one in a long time, his coloring similar to a brown thrasher yet with a beautifully speckled breast, a plumper bird without as lengthy a tail, and one with an unforgettably beautiful song.
For you, a surprise might be an exciting announcement concerning life–a baby expected, a job secured, a move into a new house, a visit from the Tooth Fairy, a good grade achieved. We in our church are thrilled over two of our families increasing their numbers by adopting special needs children, one little Chinese boy to each family. It will be an especially blessed Christmas for them and us–and a big corner turned!
Maybe you’re “down on your luck.” Maybe you’ve seen far more of a hospital this year than you’d ever want to see. Maybe you dread Christmas because it reminds you too much of someone you sorely miss. You’d really like to do like John Grisham and just skip Christmas. Maybe you’re even “between a rock and a hard spot,” a very distressing place to be.
But…just around the corner…
There’s a full horizon-to-horizon rainbow–or a child’s portrait of you in full magic marker color–or you weigh and realize you’ve finally lost those ten pounds.
Just around the corner…God has a new truth to show you, there are hugs for you, there is a “way out,” there is a panoramic view you would have missed if you hadn’t plodded along the rough and discouraging path.
Remember O’Henry’s story, “The Gift of the Magi”? A young couple facing very hard times determines, each on their own, to give an extravagant Christmas gift that will say “I love you” to the other. She sells her hair to buy him a watch fob. He sells his watch to buy her a beautiful comb to hold her hair. When they exchange gifts it’s an “around the corner” thing. They are even poorer than before–but their love outshines the drabness of their humble flat, and they are filled with courage for the future.
God has planned really good things for you. Some are wrapped in shiny tinsel. But many are wrapped in rough burlap. Some are even on the other side of some tough mountain. Be alert. Be aware of every opportunity. Because just around the corner is someone who needs you or just around the next curve is a surprise you will not want to miss!
Bless him, Charles just “came around the corner” with a five gallon bucket of beautiful orange satsumas picked for us by Candace, the new owner of our beloved old house. A taste of “home.”
So–time now to bake a pie, decorate the tree, get out your Christmas card list–and get ready for what is just around the corner!
“Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”