What did you do over your summer vacation? Do you remember much of it, or did everything go by in a flash? This is the time of year when everyone is suddenly back in gear for the fall, the holidays sneak up and then it's a new year, way too soon. Some things never change. But this year our summer was not at all what we expected.
When I wrote my last column a couple of issues ago, little did I know how its topic was going to get personal. I was asking readers "What's your meteor?" Inspired by the meteor that whacked Russia, I suggested that we all need to take personal inventory and be prepared for unexpected trials in life, especially in a spiritual sense. Little did I know what was about to be set in motion for us.
Almost immediately after my column was published our family faced sudden new challenges. First, I had a personal health scare (I'm fine, thank God). Then my Mom had a critical surgery. Everything turned out well for her, too, but it was a tense few weeks.
On the heels of that (which covered May and June), on July 1 my daughter got blindsided by some intestinal surgery that averted what could have been a deadly condition. She is also healing and stronger now and, as with the case of my Mom's issues, no cancer or other issues. Praise the Lord… indeed.
I joked with them that it's probably better to have all this stuff handled before the government takeover of healthcare kicks in, just in case they "run out of parts." Hey, I think God has a sense of humor, too.
Now we're dealing with our most recent meteor: My wife is facing a chronic illness that, while very serious, can be managed. But it will be the undercurrent for the rest of our lives. Expensive medication will control the situation, but it's "there" every day. Now we watch the news and medical/insurance policy changes differently. All that theory and political mumbo jumbo has become very personal.
Rhythm of life
No, I have not been "praying for patience" or asking God to let me play the lead role in "Job: The Early Days." This is part of life, and we all face our problems, including many more serious than ours. As we get older, there are more of these kinds of meteors heading our way. If there's nothing like this in your life right now, you're blessed. But get ready, and stay ready. Such things are a normal part of the journey.
So what's the proper reaction to such things? I don't know that there's any foolproof way of coping on every level, but one thing I do know it this: Without God in the mix, it's all futile. But even with the proper faith focus, it's never easy. I think that's how God intended it to be. Faith grows when tested, and we develop deeper character when the road ahead gets bumpy.
Life without challenges can be tedious in its boredom. Crisis moments reveal who we really are. They spur creative response and solutions. It's all about growing in life, and helping others when they go through their rough spots.
A peak at the heavenlies
As our "Summer of Meteors" came to a close, we were back up at Big Bear Lake for our annual family getaway. This year's visit coincided with the Perseid meteor showers in mid-August. Rather than ignoring them, I decided to take them on, in a sort of symbolic way.
It was only a matter of determining to get out of bed at 2:25 a.m. to see the peak sky activity. I asked for family volunteers to go out with me and observe the spectacle. My son, Brandon, was the only one who joined me, braving the middle of the night alarm clock as the rest of the family snoozed. Off we went to stare at the heavens.
The display was continuous with small and fast white streaks of light, with an occasional monster flash of energy. As we discussed the unusual beauty and randomness of the showers of light, we began talking about perspective.
Brandon asked, "How large was that meteor that hit Russia?" I recalled it was around 55 feet wide. Like a double big rig truck. Other smaller objects can create large damage, too.
Yet most of the "shooting stars" we were watching that night were tiny, just flamed out, going away forever. Out of all the meteors we observed on that August night, only two had larger significance—more colorful and impressive. But they still went away, too.
As we stared at the night sky, contemplating the non-stop display, something struck me (not any flying debris though). Even with all of the frequent bursts of brilliant light and movement the vastness of the heavens was so much bigger. The sharp clarity of the overnight sky, seen from an altitude of 6,750 feet, was immense beyond description. It was breathtaking in scope.
So often that kind of panorama is obscured by overcast weather and light pollution from Southern California. But that night everything came into precise vision: No matter the number of unusual astronomical occurrences, there were still millions of stars and planets out there, hanging in perfect, non-accidental harmony, placed there by the Creator of the universe.
It was a dramatic reminder of how, no matter what happens in life, there's so much more that is working just fine. We should enjoy the daily blessings, weather the storms of life and relax in the reminders that The One who made it all is still in charge.
Larson is a veteran Southern California radio/television personality and media consultant. His voice is heard on KPRZ 1210AM, and his weekday talkshow airs mornings 6-9 on KCBQ 1170AM. Email: email@example.com.
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