There are some crazy forest fires north of us currently. Overnight, the sky went from this:
To this by 11am the next morning:
This smoke is apparently heavy all the way into the US as well. We are meant to go up to Prince Albert for a friend’s ordination this evening and I’m hoping that the roads stay safe to drive (1.5 hours north). I’ve heard it’s raining ash in Prince Albert.
Today is also the feast of Saints Peter & Paul – two very big saints in our faith who have crazy stories about their lives and about their evangelization. Both are a huge inspiration to me in my faith. They weathered some heavy storms themselves, always conveying joy in their encounters.
It was a beautiful day yesterday with a cooling-off storm in the evening. We woke up and everything had changed. The circumstances we are in have changed so drastically here (and in other places) that it’s not being recommended for the elderly and those with lung problems to go outside due to health concerns. This is not the same place I woke up in yesterday! I’ve had to alter my schedule and approach – no playing outside, being cooped up and watching a few shows, potentially not engaging in an activity that would be life-giving and celebratory this evening. The kids are not happy about it. I’m not terribly happy about it. We are, it would seem, more grumpy today due to the changed circumstances.
It makes me wonder – how many times did this happen to Saints Peter & Paul? Many times they were in more drastic circumstances than we find ourselves in, where their very lives were at stake. However, they didn’t shut up the doors and windows and become hermits. They found ways to adapt and continue sharing the message of Christ, despite the dire circumstances they faced and (sometimes) willingly walked into.
Their witness is a call to me as well. Shake off the dire circumstances I feel faced with and adapt – find a new way to proclaim Christ’s message of love and salvation. I don’t know what that might mean for us today. Perhaps take up the invitation to go to a gym with friends. Perhaps focus on cleaning those never-ending dishes. There might be other opportunities that come tomorrow (as it’s the same forecast of smoke) that bring forth sharing, community, and love that I wouldn’t have engaged in otherwise.
While it’s likely mostly coincidence that these events have occurred at the same moment, it’s a great chance for me to reflect on my attitude towards change and my ability to adapt. And not just to adapt, but to choose joy, not grumpiness and disgruntledness. To choose joy.
Inevitably we can choose joy because our source of joy is not from the weather patterns. It’s not based off of circumstantial changes in our personal lives or the way in which our countries are run. It’s not based off of the negative way my parish treats me or the snarky comments left for me in any particular website or forum. And our joy is not based off of whether we are being persecuted and crucified for faith or able to live out our faith freely. Our joy is from Christ, no matter the circumstances we are in. I definitely need a good reminder of that fact, especially since my children are wonderfully independent thinkers, with whom I have a tendency to disagree. Especially when we are cooped up on a day like today.
So come rain or shine, smoke or clear, blue skies, I will choose joy today. I might be starting this at 3pm in the afternoon, but I’m going to make the most of it today and make the same attempt tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be surprised at how easy it is. More likely I’ll be humbled as I realise again how much I need my God to help get me through each day.