Opening the windows to God’s wind

by Elouise

at-the-back-of-the-north-wind-bw-12, Maria Louise Kirk, 1860-1938 cropped

That’s all I have to do — open the windows to God’s wind.

During the last 24 hours I’ve been up and I’ve been down. So far down I thought my mind wouldn’t escape its endless loop in the early hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep.

Sometimes I think I might be better off with a little less emotion, sensitivity and intuition. But then again, I like myself most of the time.

What I don’t like is the rollercoaster I’ve been on the last few days. Up and down between knowing and not knowing what will happen next. This isn’t new. I never know what’s going to happen next. Yet I’m feeling it now, in the aftermath of medical news, anticipating what may be down the road sooner, not later. Not just for me, but for D.

On the upside, D and I had a fabulous afternoon yesterday at the Franklin Institute in downtown Philly. Still, the downside was on my mind a few nights ago, and again as I read George MacDonald’s sonnets for August 4 and 5. Especially the first sonnet.

Keep me, Lord, with thee. I call from out the dark—
Hear in thy light, of which I am a spark.
I know not what is mine and what is thine—
Of branch and stem I miss the differing mark—
But if a mere hair’s-breadth me separateth,
That hair’s-breadth is eternal, infinite death.
For sap thy dead branch calls, O living Vine!

Whatever is going on in MacDonald’s life, he’s having a dry and thirsty desert experience. Far from his well with its bubbling pool.

He’s thinking here of his Lord as the living Vine. A Vine to which he, a branch, must be perpetually connected in order to live.  But there’s a problem. He doesn’t know exactly where the branch connects with the Vine. Or whether he’s still connected.

He’s terrified about the consequences of being separated from the Vine. In fact, he calls himself “thy dead branch,” as though the matter were already settled. As though he were good for nothing but to be cast into the fire and burned.

Thankfully, he moves immediately into his August 5 sonnet.

I have no choice, I must do what I can;
But thou dost me, and all things else as well;
Thou wilt take care thy child shall grow a man.
Rouse thee, my faith: be king; with life be one;
To trust in God is action’s highest kind;
Who trusts in God, his heart with life doth swell;
Faith opens all the windows to God’s wind.

George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul
Augsburg Fortress Press 1994

The resolution is simple. Nothing new. Just a jolt that brings me back to basics. I can never do what I cannot do. Which leaves no alternative but to do what I can.

Even better, it leaves God to do what only God can do. As MacDonald puts it,

…I must do what I can;
But thou dost me, and all things else as well.

What I can and must do is trust God. Live life fully! Throw open “all the windows to God’s wind.” Let it sweep into and through my life. It doesn’t matter whether God’s wind comes from the North, South, East or West.

Only when I fling open the windows will God’s Holy Spirit permeate my life, whether I’m dead, about to die, gasping for air or cowering under the bed.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 February 2016
Illustration by Maria Louise Kirk, born in Lancaster PA (1860-1938). For one of George MacDonald’s fairy tales for children, At the Back of the North Wind.
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