At Christmas last year, we received a present we didn't want: a problem with our septic system. In a few hours, a dirty, orange construction vehicle had invaded our yard, scooped down and churned up a large area of sod and several feet of earth beneath. What would have been a thickly-woven blanket of foot-comforting green this summer now lay in gray chunks alongside rocks and red Georgia clay--which is actually orange. My least favorite color.
What a mess.
It was full-on winter so we couldn't replace the sod right away. As the weeks passed, the orange clay became part of the landscape outside our kitchen window. With each passing rain, the clay melted into mud, which would flow down onto the walkway and then paint itself across the driveway.
Come on, spring. Come on, sod.
One chilly morning I grabbed my coat, stepped outside, and stood on the walkway with phone in hand. I wanted to get some "before" photos to encourage us after we replaced the sod and got the bill for it.
But when I started to take a picture, something bright caught my eye, something flickering.
As I looked across the muddy patch, I noticed other little shiny bits lying on top. Instantly I knew what it was: mica, a mineral made up of thin flakes that flicker like glitter in the light. If the sun hadn't been shining, I would never have noticed those tiny mirrors reflecting its rays over their dull, terra-cotta surroundings.
The unexpected beauty twinkling that morning was a sight for these sore eyes.
Many times, my life has looked like that muddy patch: the failure of a major relationship; muddling a leadership role and hurting people unintentionally; letting my career stagnate inside the safety of my comfort zone.
But always, there has been something of beauty shining in the mess. That major loss, though incredibly painful, deepened my love and gratitude for my family and friends. Through that leadership role, I learned how to be a better leader, how to handle hurt feelings, how to keep going when you feel like a failure. And as far as my career goes, well, I've stepped out of my box of cozy comfort. We'll see where this journey with Glimsen leads.
For me, those shiny flickers are evidence of God's presence in my life. He continually brings beauty from ugliness. And along the way I have learned an important lesson: look for the beauty. Look for the glitter in the mud.
Have you ever been in a difficult situation and seen the beauty, whether tangible or metaphorical? Or maybe you missed it? If so, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.