As I sit here writing to you, I hear the soft flickering of my open coal fire, as heat radiates and the smell of warmth fills the room. I am grateful. Over in my kitchen, a freshly prepared, by yours truly, pot of Irish stew gurgles and bubbles as it cooks on my brand new stove. My nearby window, slightly ajar, lets me hear the birds singing to each other from their branches, and the funny screams of sea gulls as they soar in the sky. The sound of life!
Some of you know I have moved, and many of you have asked me to tell the story of how it all happened. First, let me take a sip from my freshly brewed cup of brilliance, and I will begin to pen the tale.
The story is long, so I will keep it brief and pertinent to what really matters. I needed to move, and time was running out on my lease. Days, weeks and months were flying past, with no real success in finding my new abode. I remained resilient and positive, but meanwhile back at the ranch, my heart was growing wearisome and tiresome. You know the feeling.
So, on a seemingly ordinary Tuesday morning, way back in November, I awoke with a sense of destiny, urgency, optimism and a certain, “Je ne sais quoi“.
I went through my usual morning routine, breakfast, reading, quiet time, etc etc, but all the while I knew today was the day I would find it. I decreed it in my heart, that today God and I would find it, as if God needed my help, and the day commenced.
Soon I was out walking on the street, in the south city suburbs of Dublin, with no real place to go, just watching people and looking for opportunity. This particular day, opportunity came wearing overalls and holding a paintbrush. He was a stranger to me, but I soon found myself interrupting his work to inquire if he may possibly be the landlord of said property. He wasn’t. But quite resolutely he took me into the house to meet the landlord of this lovely Georgian house. To cut a long eventful story short, I spent about half an hour chatting with a landlord, who had nothing to offer me, but took the time to offer me friendly advice and hear my story. He had just come out of a three hour meeting, yet gave me much more than the time of day. It was inspiring, but even more so, when he simply said, that he wanted to give me some timely and encouraging advice…”Don’t lose hope!..”
He said it calmly and resolutely. So much so that the tired heart in me was lifted up. I blinked the tears from my eyes and thanked him for this kindness and time. And ventured out onto the street again.
Moments later I saw another gentleman in overalls. So, yes, you guessed it. I did. I gingerly approached him on the front steps of another Georgian building, and inquired if he were possibly the landlord. And, guess what? No, he wasn’t. We chatted a bit about why I was out stopping strangers and the like. He then decided to call the landlord of this property to inquire on my behalf. And low and behold, he had just driven in around the rear of the building at that moment. So, had I arrived at this second property thirty minutes earlier, things may not have lined up so perfectly for me. I mused to myself, thank God the other landlord took thirty minutes out of his day to be kind to a stranger.
Soon I rushed round the corner to meet another stranger, who now is my current landlord.
It all did not go as smoothly as planned, and there were a few delays and hiccups to test my faith, but soon after, the keys to my brightly new refurbished from floor to ceiling, Georgian studio were in my hands. I moved in well before Christmas, with the help of family and friends. I have all I need, plus one extra, a real open log fire! That part was a pleasant surprise. Blessed with brand new fixtures and fittings, a new cooker, fridge and utilities. And this is where I write to you from, sitting in my own antique nursing chair, by my heat-yielding flickering fire.
And although there are challenges afoot, and things that greatly challenge my heart today, I can look around me and be grateful that I have more than some, and less than a lot, but I have what I need. I am ready to move on to the next adventure, wherever and whenever that is. Today the sound of life is beautiful, and I am grateful for the journey, and for the strength that tears can bring.
Anyway, I better go, the sound and aroma of my homemade stew bubbling signals to me that it is ready, and so am I. Oh, there is one more important thing I must tell you; remember when I met the second landlord? Well, he was not planning on advertising this property, so the only way I would have found him is if I met him on the street. So, there you have it. Get out there and meet people. Take risks, go out on a limb and see what happens. I did, and it changed everything.
Life is like a river, sometimes you are merrily merrily rowing your boat and life is but a dream…other times it seems like you are battling to paddle upstream in the torrents of a force five flood. I can relate to both, as can we all. At the moment I find my vessel in the second description, and having experienced that exact real life event several years ago, I know it to be exhilarating but also totally terrifying.
The other night, while lying in my bed in the stillness of midnight, the phrase ‘Whistle In The dark’ grabbed my imagination and planted a curiosity in me that led me on an inquisitive journey. The phrase ‘Whistle In The Dark’ has a few definitions and idioms. Here are a few I pulled together to enlighten us further…
1. To pretend to be unafraid
2. To be confident that something good will happen when it seems not at all likely (thefreedictionary.com)
3. To attempt to summon up one’s courage or optimism in a difficult situation (dictionary.com)
4. The notion that one should whistle in difficult circumstances to show that one is not concerned or frightened can be found in Robert Blair’s The Grave (1742): “The Schoolboy…Whistling aloud to bear his courage up”. From the Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).
To choose to ‘whistle in the dark’ can best be described as deciding to be cheerful or optimistic when you are walking through a situation or circumstance where cheer or optimism cannot be warranted or expected. Haven’t we all walked through these seasons of life? It is a great strength to be able to muster up the courage needed to lift your heart up by whistling or singing in a dark and lonely place. Those of us who believe in God, call this FAITH. Whereby we focus on the power of our omnipresent God who holds our lives in His hands, believing that nothing happens to us that He is not infinitely aware of and involved in. Faith is choosing to trust, even when we cannot see where we are going or where our feet will step next.
My dear friend Roxanne, (from Louisiana), shared with me a beautiful illustration of the powerful workings of God’s hands: She recounted that should our feet be walking on or down a path that God does not wish for us, that God is mighty enough to literally reposition our feet and direct us down the batter path of His choosing. A door will open, a road will appear, a way will be made clear for us to take. I breathed a sigh of relief, for although we all know this to be true, sometimes we need a fellow traveler to come along side us and cheer us on.
Are you in this place? Are you ‘whistling in the dark’, hearing nothing but the lonesome sound of your own efforts to take courage by whistling your melody of faith? I am there with you, but more than that, GOD IS. Even the thickest darkness is as light to Him. He can see clearly and is working all things together for good, whether we can see it or feel it.
So lift your head up dear one, with tears if you must, and lean your heart into His today knowing that He is right there beside you, and He hears your whistle of faith. Whistle loud and boldly, forgetting the doubtful voices of those around you who may not understand the reason for your courage. There is One who cherishes this sound of faith you make, this song in the night, your desire to boldly trust Him on the road less traveled. He is near, He is with you and He will come through for you. He hears you whistle and to Him it is a beautiful sound of precious trust from a heart determined to believe in the goodness of His hand to do what He has promised.
Soon we will see. God is getting us ready for something new.