As with all things these days seem to be evolving into pictures, no scratch that, masterpieces of creative beauty, which are only possible through the direct hand strokes of God Himself, I find myself seeing more and more the absolute creative nature of God in every single day unfolding.
Now how could anyone in their right mind possibly make that statement in light of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus attack, with its resulting worldwide pandemic effect, or in other words; how could anyone possibly look at this and apply the singular simple Biblical truth that “God can turn all trials or storms into good if we but look to Him?”
Well, I can sight at least one example my beautiful wife Anna noticed almost from the very first day the shutdown took place in our home town of Phoenix Arizona.
In Phoenix, almost exactly to the day our Great President Donald Trump ordered the flight restrictions from Europe and other places known to be afflicted with the virus, as well as advised people simply to begin to stay at home from schools or start “self quarantining measures,” it began to rain.
The rain itself is not by most people considered a blessing, but for most of us in Phoenix, it’s usually looked upon as a blessing from God considering the fact that we sit in the desert and most of the time do without it for most of the days of the year. This particular year we have, although, had quite a nice share of consistent rainfall that has, as a result, turned the normal late winter or desert into early spring of blossoming green.
One might call this a blessing, and I am sure it is, but that is not the “Blessing” I am talking about in connection with the Corona Pandemic?
What I am talking about, and what my wife noticed almost the first day of the shutdown, was a sort of “Quietness” that has suddenly and most distinctively touched the Earth? A sort of stillness or even a degree of “Peace” which has suddenly, and most distinguishably been added to the mix.
As we looked around our garden, we noticed almost overnight an immediate blooming of almost all of the plants in our garden, many of which we had no idea they might even begin to bloom, and certainly not this early in the year.
Now, to be honest, we do have a particularly unique garden for Phoenix, my wife being of European origin, and us both loving particularly Tuscany Italy, we have to a degree mimicked our own garden more towards the Tuscan look than one would ever expect in the rural of the Phoenix desert. Our yard is grass, with trees not exactly indicative of the region; Oak, Elm, Olive Trees, Nuts, and Fruits, even Papaya and Guava, some of which usually don’t weather well the cold, and when they do come back, usually have to sprout nearly from the root to return, but that’s not the case this year?
Many people have told us we have a bit of a “Magical Garden” or what I like to call “God’s Secret Garden,” but that too is mostly due to the fact that my wife would pray for the water when she water’s the trees, and even at times quietly speaks to the vegetables and plants as she cares for them. She even sliced up one of her favorite tomato’s last year and planted it in the flower bed next to our pool, from that single tomato slice we had the whole flower bed full of tomato vines along the side of the pool, even dangling into the pool. The kids would pick them and eat them while they swam, many people said they were the most delicious tomatoes they had ever tasted. I believe that it was God’s simple answer to my wife’s prayers when she blessed the water.
Like I said, we almost immediately began to see a rapid and complete blossoming of our garden from the very moment that the first days’ rain of the shutdown came, even the tomato plant started blooming again!
The world seemed almost immediately to have become “Quieter,” the air seemed fresher, cleaner, and yes, that is always the case after the rain, but this was different, there was an undeniable fresher smell in the air, and a cleaner quieter feeling to everything around?
The very next day my wife looking around the garden in the now clearing sky as the rain subsided, noticed there seemed to be less traffic noise and no sounds of airplanes rumbling in the skies? And while I knew that the President had ordered restrictions from Europe, I was not aware that reductions of any domestic flights had taken place yet. I looked up myself and couldn’t see any signs of flights of any kind in the air.
She was right the world had seemed to be cleaner and quieter?
We, like others, began to find things to do at home, now that we would be spending more time here? For us, thinking about what to do meant deciding what we would have to get today at the store for dinner or perhaps call our family back in Europe to see how they were doing in these newfound restrictions?
For me, this means having a quiet call with my Mentor in Pagosa Springs Peter Laue, the godliest man I know, who happens to live in one of the godliest places on Earth. Seeing how things are going there, possibly report what we have seen here, especially the newfound quietness that we seem to have suddenly discovered.
I was amazed to hear they too have seen the almost exact experience there. Now granted Pagosa Springs is high up in the Colorado mountain’s and Peter’s house on the lake is always peaceful, but he too had to admit something has seemed to have changed, and God has ushered in an most undeniable portion of “Peacefulness” into the world?
Even as we spoke, Peter notices something moving just outside his window? He gets up and looks and sees what looks like an ear moving, Sitting there right next to the to his house was a deer, just laying there, resting looking at him. I asked him; “have you ever had one lay so close to the house?”
“Never, in all the years has one laid so close to our house, or laid down for that matter in the yard.” He said with such excitement. I asked him to take a picture, but unfortunately not having a cell phone he couldn’t take a picture, that’s ok, we would just have to enjoy the moment together over the phone.
Luckily, a friend came over a couple hours later and she did have a cell phone and was able to take a picture, which he sent to me. When I showed it to my wife Anna, she immediately reacted; “That’s a miracle, look there are no signs of tracks to where the deer is laying? It looks like it just appeared there when you were talking. I believe it’s a miracle. God’s Peace!”
Later that same day I went to the store and I must say I was shocked to see the immediate result at the grocery store, as people began to clear the shelves from what they clearly seemed to be necessities such as toilet paper, hand sanitizers, and bread, but nothing else?
I remember thinking to myself how stupid could people be? I don’t know how much bread a person can store in their freezer, but I certainly could not keep more than a couple loaves for a few days without it getting stale? But hotdog and hamburger buns being suddenly gone, that is just crazy! And how much of a life’s necessity is wiping your butt if and when food suddenly disappears from the shelves?
But God is always faithful to provide.
An almost Godly occurrence; our good friends Karen and Lukasz only just visited us a few weeks earlier, and Lukasz presented us with a homemade bread he had baked himself. My wife, being from Europe, has on more than one occasion sent me on a quest to find a truly good loaf of sourdough locally that can come close to the ones she would get daily from local small bakers in Amsterdam. This for me meant at times I needed to make that twenty-plus mile round trip drive to Wildflower Bakery to get something decent.
But when we tasted Lukasz’s bread, and he told us the recipe was simple, something you can make the same day in your own home with simple ingredients, I asked him to send me the instructions. So why not try it now in light of the great American hamburger and hotdog bun shortage, gathering the necessary ingredients to try it for my self?
Needless to say, I wasn’t the first to think of it, because flour and more importantly yeast seemed to be in short supply, but luckily there was still a few sacks of flour and couple packets of yeast still on the shelf on toilet paper crisis day!
I was amazed, not that I could make a loaf of bread at home, but at my wife’s reaction as she stated that my bread actually tasted better than any bread she had thus far tried here, including Wildflower’s. This merely prompted me to make another loaf every day, trying slightly different strategies, the quest for the “perfect loaf,” as to how long to let the dough rise, or whether to try my own starter instead of dry yeast?
Thirty-five years of practicing medicine, college and studying physical therapy overseas, in a foreign language that I, at the time, did not speak, treating perhaps thousands of people, yet when my wife looked at me with that smile and said; “You’ve become a baker,” I have to admit I had a real sense of accomplishment that overwhelmed me in ways I have rarely felt perhaps for years?
A feeling of “Peace!”
Maybe it is the finding of simpler joys, one may find now when a person has to spend more time at home; gardening, or making their own bread? The blessing of cleaning your own pool, cutting your own grass, making your own bread?
Maybe it’s not just noticing everybody is suddenly looking at you in the stores as you walk by, wondering perhaps if you have flu symptoms, but taking a moment to actually notice each other as we walk by?
I made a loaf of bread from a $2 sack of flour and a little yeast? One sack makes at least five loaves, fifty cents, and my wife said they taste better than any she has ever had. It almost makes me want to make a few and give them away? I guess that’s why the Amish call it “Friendship Bread?” One thing is for sure, I will be making my own from now on!
Sure there are fewer people driving to school, to work or flying, but enough that immediately the air seems cleaner, the Papaya suddenly blossoms or a Deer suddenly start laying next to houses? My wife even told me that they have noticed Dolphins swimming in the waters around Venice, and the canals are so clear for the first time in perhaps hundreds of years they are seeing fishes swimming again between the streets.
Green New Deal? God can do in an instant what politicians would pay billions to try and never come close to accomplishing. Swans in water in London!
We even decided to get a few chicks and try the chicken coop thing, my wife does love her eggs each day. Our nine-year-old daughter already seems to be having so much fun with the whole chicken, egg and feeding thing. When did 4-H stop being a course or club you could take at school, I think it used to be offered, I can’t remember that far back?
I think people, in general, are getting a taste of slowing down, simplifying their lives, stepping away from the “Rat Race,” and at least this guy is wondering do I really miss any of it? Do I even want to go back?
This Coronavirus, many people believe is a biological weapon, some believe it is a plague, it is clear it already has had a devastating effect on our economy, affected and even killed many, perhaps many thousands all over the world. How could God possibly turn such a devastating occurrence, attack, whether constructed by our own hands or not, into something good?
Maybe by slowing down the world, injecting Peace, we actually are finding simpler more significant creative moments in each day of our lives, a Green Godly deal is possible. We wanted climate change, maybe God said; “Let me show you who really is in charge of the climate,” and with a simple stroke of His majestic brush and a little help from our truly inspirational President, He cleaned everything up, quieted everything down, and brought people all over the world into a more illuminated light of pure godly truth. At least they started noticing each other.
Slow down and see life, instead of watching it pass you by.
By Peter Colla
“Dear Lord help me remember that this whole world is yours, and only you have complete control over every aspect, every blossoming flower, every gift of Peace. All good things come from You, help me remember and thank you for the time, stop and notice just a few of those good things as they call out to me throughout this wonderful day You have given me.”
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Heal Yourself; “For God’s Sake” by Peter Colla
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