Monday, June 17, 2013

Beautiful Things

Lately I've been reflecting a lot on the past year.

This time last year was the beginning of the end for my friend and boss. After a triumphant month of May when Charles stuck it to his cancer and made it back into the classroom after almost dying a few months earlier, he almost immediately began declining again. Drastically. He spent the month of June in and out of the hospital, went into hospice care in early July, and died a week later.

At the time, it felt like my world was crashing down. And in some ways, it was. This was the first time I'd lost a close friend, so there was all this grief to deal with, with little to no experience with or knowledge of how to grieve. On top of the grief was a whole lot of uncertainty about my job—who would my new boss(es) be? how well would we get along? would I even still have a job?

Some friends at house church introduced me to Gungor’s song Beautiful Things, and it's kind of been my anthem these last 18 months.

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground at all?

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You


You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new


For months I sang this song, resonating so much with the pain and uncertainty of the first part of the song, and clinging desperately to the hope of the later two-thirds of it—the promise that God does make beautiful things out of the dust—that hope does spring up from dry, cracked ground.

And you know what? Beautiful things have come out of all this pain. Hope has sprung, and life has grown out of the chaos.

The last year has been filled with sweet, refreshing newness. With hope budding up out of desolate ground. Countless friends have surrounded me with tender support and encouragement. My new boss is pretty great, and I’ve found dear friends in him and his family. I got promoted into a position that didn’t exist before now. And in a couple weeks I’ll be moving into a new house.

At times like this, when I’m surrounded by beauty and feel like I’m getting a fresh start, I sing this song in praise of the beauty God has made from this mess. I sing it to remember the pain and the desperation, and I sing it to rejoice in the beautiful things that have come from it.

And during seasons like mid-June to mid-July, when I miss Charles like crazy and can’t help but think of all how awful this time was last year, I sing this song to remind myself afresh that God already has brought beautiful things from this hurt, and to cling to the hope that there is more beauty yet to come.

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