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When life gets turbulent, it can be hard to keep up the charade that we're all fine

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Holly McLaneA fine layer of daily farm dust lines each windowsill as I move throughout the house, opening shades and windows to capture even the slightest of evening breezes. I mutter again about how, next year, we should look into an air conditioning unit. I'm also breathing silent thanks for the hard-working boys who stacked a couple of tons of hay into my barn from Tom Alexander's fields. Just a few short weeks ago, I imagine that they liked the "idea" of working outdoors and far away from any professors, exams, or office work, only now to feel trampled by the stifling heat and reality of it all.

So too is the young person sweating-it-out at a military outpost somewhere in the Middle East, or the forestry technician trenching-by-hand to outpace a raging mountainside inferno. And let's not forget the farmers frantically cutting, baling and hoping for enough water to do it all over again. 

Summertime (and a pandemic) allow us to remember that life is messy and hard and often reveals that there's always more going on with humanity than meets the eye.

Outward appearances can sometimes hide the muck that lives in the space between our ears, or lies buried in our broken hearts, and sometimes in the pit of our stomach, too; junk like grief and doubt, worry, regret, and fear. But none of that should surprise us, because we also are made of dust, even though we pretend, like crazy, not to be. And when life gets turbulent, it can be hard to keep up the charade that we're all fine, just "fine!" When was the last time you saw a rancher wearing a gown or tuxedo while driving cattle or fixing equipment? It seems absurd, doesn't it? And yet, we do all kinds of gymnastics with how we try and disguise or dress-up our inward pain and panic.

So, just as we yearn for, and take the time to wash away the outer grit and grime of a hard day's work, let us not forget to apply the same principle to our insides. There is a God in heaven. He already knows about our stuff and is keenly aware of the ugly battle being waged over every human heart. But God will never break down the door to start cleaning our inner houses. He enters by invitation only. No questions asked, ready and waiting to take us on a journey toward wholeness that's as individual as every grain of sand stuck to the bottom of our boots. The choice lies solely with us.


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