Love protects in severity so the beauty can be seen

by Craig on March 11, 2011

And a little warning – this one is kind of heavy – you know – I’m like that sometimes. And it’s a writing prompt – written for writery type folk – so it’s – writer-y. Just sayin’ :)

Within severity is beauty.

Without protection the beauty of the severity can get very ugly.

One choice leads to life. One choice leads to death.

Stand me on a Himalayan peak, and all around me would be stark, jagged, stunning beauty. But keep me there – without protection – and things. change. rapidly.

The beauty would be lost to me as the severity lays me low.

This is how it would happen. (You might want to close your eyes as you read this)

At first, my breathing comes in short frosted puffs because my body rejects the frigid air.

Then my blood runs out of my fingers and toes and ears – deeper inside – sacrificing the outside to keep the inside alive. All this before I even realize I’m in danger.

Then come shivers,
the trembling of lips,
neck,
shoulders.

My muscles try to keep me warm, but with no protection it’s a losing fight.

My feet and hands slip from intense pain to numbness.

Soon shivering gives way to paralysis. The muscles can’t contract, and when they do they can’t undo the motion. My body literally freezes before being frozen.

Balance becomes impossible; the world spins like a pinwheel.

I fall to my knees in the snow.

“Just a moment to rest – just…a moment.”

“How long has it been?” I wonder. But enzymes in the brain aren’t functioning. Seconds are days, years are minutes, logic vanishes.

Soon I don’t care.

I lay down in the snow and what little heat left in my body bleeds into it.

All shivering stops

and breathing slows.

“Am I breathing?”

Opening my eyes the former beauty has become abstract – blobs of color, shards of light, nonsense, ugliness.

It’s better to close my eyes.

Then suddenly it’s warmer. I’m in front of a fire, with family and friends, and the chill is gone. To think at all now – is only hallucination. It is a mercy.

Then all thinking stops,
as does breathing,
as do heartbeats.

There is beauty in severity.
But without protection,
that beauty is only ugly,
and the severity can become my end.

So the thing is to be protected. No? I can protect myself in the severe of life with positive thinking, or friends, or family, or inner strength. But all of these choices are limited in their ability, and consistency.

I need better protection.

It’s in severity that some of the most precious gems of life can to be found. Better protection leads to better vision and there is only One source of perfect Love and vision and protection.

God can be a roaring fire on a desolate and bone chilling Himalayan peak.

Who among you reverences the LORD…and is thus able to walk in darkness without benefit of any fire … Walk by the light of your own fire and…this is your fate…you shall lie down in a place of pain.”

(IS 51:10,11)

One choice leads to life. One choice leads to death.

I. choose. life.

I can survive the severity to see the beauty if I let his love protect me.

Knowing that he will “never fail me or forsake me.” (DT 31:6)

Without Love’s vision and protection I lay down in the snow – and now we know how that ends.

So love has me ask these questions today.

What is my bitter cold severity?
Who or what is my protection?
Can I see what beauty lies hidden in the folds of it?

This is one of those prayer loves. I’ll be praying today for everyone who reads, but I know that today not everyone who reads this believes as I do.  So I’ll be praying only for those who want the prayer.

You don’t have to tell me whether you want the prayer or not, or what the severity is. If God is God, he’s big enough to discern both. I’ll just pray – he’ll cover everything else.

Know this though,

that if you want this prayer,

it’s being said all weekend long,

top of every hour.

I promise.

I like doing this.

It makes me smile.

In God’s love.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Lizz March 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thank you. This is just what I need this morning.

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Craig March 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

Thank you for stopping by Lizz – I read yours too – awesome. Marks to be proud of!!

God Bless

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A. March 11, 2011 at 10:02 am

Yes, thank you. For the prayers and the post. This is a clear and compelling way to explain this difficult truth.

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A. March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

Prayers of the same kind for you, too, Craig.

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Craig March 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

I’m finding this praying thing – praying for you guys that read – it’s a real joy bringer – a smile bringer – I heart that!!! Never expected this benefit of blogging – nope – never – a happy surprise. God bless you A.

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Dawn March 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I know when you say you will pray for us at the top of every hour that you mean the top of EVERY hour since you don’t sleep.

Thank you, Dear Friend,
Dawn

PS Ironically, I just received post card from India yesterday with a picture of the Himalayan Mountains on it. It was postmarked 2/3/2011 from Darjeeling. Does it normally take this long to get mail from India to the U.S. or was it held up by our timeless God as foreshadowing for your blog?

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 8:12 am

OK now you’re thinking the way I think. Should we be concerned? :)

And I do sleep some – otherwise I’d not be living. For instance last night I stayed in bed 10 hours – sadly I feel more tired now than when I went to bed – what’re you gonna do – it’s just a thorn – just a thorn. God Bless you Dawn – and thank you.

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Michelle March 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm

“I can survive the severity to see the beauty if I let his love protect me.”
Thank you.

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

Michelle – we can try all we want to do all the right “positive thinking” but to really make it through and not waste pain we need HIM, his insights, his power – because it’s the only insight and power that is perfect – and he shares :) But we have to reach out and want it too – and be a little grabby :) God Bless you Michelle. And I do so love knowing specifically who I’m praying for :)

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Debra March 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Craig, you are a man after God’s own heart because you never slumber nor sleep… thank you – thank you for your prayers.
Keeping you in mine too. Praying for much needed rest and myriad blessings.
~ love and prayers

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 8:30 am

I am that – I do long for His heart – always have – at least since I’ve known him. I think he handles the neither slumbering nor sleeping part much better than my body soes. I smile knowing I’m praying for you today. God Bless.

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Anna March 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm

makes me smile too!

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 8:16 am

And I’m smiling now reading you comment. It’s a good way to live. Breath in deeply his grace, love vertically and horizontally. Thank you – It’s an to be praying for you today. God Bless.

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Mandyland March 12, 2011 at 12:48 am

What a lovely parable.

Visiting from TRDC.

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 8:17 am

Eeeek – not really lovely – kind of horrifying – but the parallels to what happens when I try to make it all on my own power in a bad situation – and the story – the more I look at it the more there are. Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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Mandyland March 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

How funny. I just re-read it thinking I’d missed something and I read about hope and comfort and warmth after a bitterly cold, hopeless, lonely period. That’s what was lovely. There was hope.

PS You choice of imagery was very, very good.

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Debbie March 12, 2011 at 3:21 am

God bless you and protect you today. Your prayers are like sweet incense rising to His throne. God taught me about His protection. The first time through it, I tried to protect myself. The second time, I submit to the severity and pain, and trusted what He was doing in it. Thank you so much for everything Craig. You are a special servant of His.

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 8:33 am

The protecting yourself thing – God gave me that verse a long time ago – surround ourself with his fire – or our own – our choice – one is life – one is death. Heart that verse.

And not special – but a servant, yes. Thank you Deb. God Bless.

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Dawn March 12, 2011 at 9:12 am

I loved your reply to Michelle. ..to make it through and not waste pain. Not waste pain. Not waste pain. Not. waste. pain. I have never ever thought of it in that way. It gives me a better understanding of what Jesus meant when He said to rejoice and be glad when others revile and persecute you…when James said to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. And when Mark Buchanan says in his book “Spiritual Rhythm,” that it is in winter that we come to know what we really believe. Your comment was the lens that sharpened all this for me. It’s the hard times that propel us forward. Usually we are just walking along at a leisurely pace, but if we don’t waste the pain we can learn at a speed and to a depth that is utterly unreachable in summer.

My head hurts, Craig! Thanks?
Dawn

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

So true Dawn. That’s why in some ways I ALMOST don’t care if my “thorn” ever gets removed – it does keep humble, and compassionate, among other good things. I love what you wrote, “Usually we are just walking along at a leisurely pace, but if we don’t waste the pain we can learn at a speed and to a depth that is utterly unreachable in summer.” Your heart and my heart and the author’s heart, and God’s heart – iron sharpening iron. Happy I made your brain hurt:) God Bless.

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Christina March 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I love “I can survive the severity to see the beauty if I let his love protect me.” Beautiful. Thanks for a wonderful post!

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Big IF Christina – we have to allow him – seems to me that Our Lord seldom goes where hes not invited. If I’m standing in the snow and I don’t want his help – he just may not help. Once choice life – one choice death. Thank you much for being here. God Bless.

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Kristi March 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm

“Without protection the beauty of the severity can get very ugly” I love this!! I was up on that mountain with you….feeling the cold & pain. I thought it was brilliant to turn the prompt this way….to take severity, show it’s beauty and ugliness, then flip it all over into God’s grace. He is our protecter! Thank you for sharing this…and for stopping by my blog.
Be blessed~
Kristi

PS Thank you for the prayers. I think that is an awesome thing to do…glad it makes you :)

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Craig March 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Now it’s nice to know I’m praying for you too. For your severity, for you to find the beauty in it, for his wisdom, and his his protection – so you can see. Thank you for reading. Thank you. And God bless.

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Cora March 13, 2011 at 9:26 pm

It’s been almost 3 years now since I was diagnosed with stage 3b breast cancer. The severity of the chemo treatments, the horrible radiation burns after surgery, etc., were only possible because I knew WHO protected me every step, every moment of the journey! I didn’t just survive, but my eyes were opened to see the beauty — but even better, my heart was opened to feel the very breath of God — He was that close! This post meant everything to me tonight. My response is one of praise and thanks, because there ARE people like you who promise to pray and DO IT, and because God hears and answers those prayers. And my response is a big YES as I thank God for YOUR prayers, too!!!

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Kelly K @ Writing with Chaos March 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

Powerful imagery.

While I admit it was a bit religious for my tastes (you warned me) what you spoke of is true: the severity is what we need protecting from.

Life is made up of highs and lows – it is at these points, the peaks and valleys that we FEEL. These are the moments imprinted on us that we will remember forever – not the endless piles of laundry.

Everyone needs a way to cope with those oh-so low lows – I’m glad you found faith as yours.

I found the opening “scene” particularly powerful and well written.

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