There's beautiful in the ugly, but sometimes you have to look for it. I find it often, but this morning in these wee hours, unable to sleep, I'm not finding it so easy. At 1:30 a.m. I wrestle with the pillow and lose, partly because I took a long nap on Independence Day, but mostly because I'm also wrestling with troubles that tangle up my mind. I toss the blankets back and shuffle to the kitchen. I shuffle not because I'm tired, but because I'm heavy laden. Lord, show me the beautiful in all of this one more time. I open the fridge and stare into the light, looking for a chocolate something. Not finding it, I shut the door and come to this space and write.
The demands of caring for a father with Alzheimer's and a mother with Parkinson's are great enough, but when your confidence in where you've placed them for care begins to wain, it lays heavy on your chest. Who keeps dropping the ball? Why are expectations not met? Why do I have to call another dreaded meeting? Why are we paying so much money for me to stay awake at night? I think I'm on the losing end of that deal! I feel I've grown ugly with anger, but I've been assured that it's righteous anger by those who think I'm justified. I don't know. It feels ugly. So, I lay it at the feet of Jesus. With tears wetting my cheeks, exhaustion eases from my bones as I cry out His beautiful name.
I don't want to let the joy of yesterday's celebration become marred ugly by disgust and dread so I pray, and I think about the beautiful of a July 4th parade, family and friends, harmonica music, fireworks, and strawberry ice cream. I shuffle back to the kitchen, open the freezer this time, pull out that carton of Braum's Premium strawberry, and dip another bowl.