Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Zuzu's House, Trust, and Keepin' Out the Cold

A friend, over Christmas break, said something that made me smile.

"I think you live in Zuzu's house."

Zuzu. George Bailey's Zuzu. From one of our favorite movies, It's A Wonderful Life (it's a wonder we don't all have pneumonia). I sat in our living room and laughed. Then I reached for another throw.

I think my friend is right. Our house is like Zuzu's house. It's rambling. Old. Drafty. We can feel the winter wind whoosh and whisper over the floorboards.

And today seems especially cold.

The air is damp. Temperatures are low, and I think it's time to reach for the big defense: electric blankets. So I pull the stepladder from the basement and haul it to my bedroom closet because the blankets are stored high. I'm excited to retrieve six bundles and wrap them around six beds. I'll be glad to know that at night, when it's even colder because it's dark, my family will be warm.

If only it could be this easy to press out all kinds of cold, I think as I stretch on my toes and wriggle my fingers toward the soft bundles.

It's not something that's desirable to admit, but if I'm completely honest, I often a struggle with worry. I worry for my children. I worry for their futures and circumstances. I worry for my own future when they are not here. And then there's the dark place of fear. I slip there easily, even though it's nowhere I'd like to be. I don't want to exist in these cold places. But circumstances, unwelcome and unchosen, seem to create an opening and I let the cold seep right in.

But what if  challenging circumstances bring opportunity to find peace and comfort in the Lord?

It's something that I think about as I toss blankets until there's a sea of softness on the ground. I turn the thought over and over while carry armloads of blankets up the steep, curved steps. I ponder while I and unmake and remake a half-dozen beds.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:3 NIV


This has to be the way.

During the times in my life when I've chosen to trust more and fear less, the sharp sting of fear diminished. It lost power.

When my response to worry becomes an opportunity to trust, the cold is kept away.

And this becomes my prayer.

Lord, it's a new year. A time for refreshment and new beginnings.  Help me to remember how turn from worry and to trust in You.

When evening comes and dark winter wraps around us, I find peace in knowing that my family is cocooned. As they sleep, they're wrapped in warmth. But even as I sit and listen to the strong howl of the wind, there's something else, too. A different kind of peace that's filling. Settling. Comforting. A peace that passes understanding and becomes salve to my soul.

I agree with my friend. This old house is like Zuzu's.

But I'm learning to trust.

And trust keeps out the cold.

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