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Yesterday, shivers made merry with the glorious reds and yellows outside my living room windows. A summer hold-out finally gave in to the claim of lingering frost, green leaves transforming themselves into their pre-winter wardrobe.

Today, reds and yellows curled into brokens and browns, dropping away with the wind. 

Beauty. Here for a day. Now fleeting. Does it always have to be this way? 

Death and life woven together. Jagged ugliness juxtaposed with breathtaking preciousness.

Friday night the first photo on my Facebook feed was a delicate snapshot of a friend’s day-old baby girl. Pink infused cheeks were perfectly round and content.  Destined to snuggle in her daddy’s arms, she was all warms and softs. The second photo portrayed another’s friend yet-unborn, but already condemned ultrasound image of her baby girl. Destined to dance with her Heavenly Father for eternity, she will be celebrated for only a few short hours, her fragrance savored for moments, before her undeveloped brain sentences her to slip away.  Beauty here for a time. Forever fleeting.

It isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that tomorrow David and his team will love on Talibe street boys in the city of Dakar, Senegal, who view a shower and running water as invaluable gifts. Last year, David recounted to me with shaky voice the heartrending experience of helping to hold down a screaming youngster, as his open wound was disinfected and dressed. Not once, but twice. Nothing was fair about the life of that dear little one. But in a world devoid of antiseptic, anesthesia, and mommies, that pain may have saved his leg, if not his life. Who knows what sights and sounds the team will face tomorrow, as they minister to the least of these.

It isn’t fair. This morning I woke up in an empty bed with the stark images of a dream burned into my soul. Big blue eyes stared mournfully into mine. Bottle held protectively between barely-sucking, rosy lips. Nearly alone in a park. Unwanted. Tousled brown toddler hair. He was nameless, but not faceless. Fat, fair cheeks rounded out the image of an orphaned 2-year-old. In the fantasy of my dreams, there was no doubt in my mind that I would take him home, make him mine, call him Gift. Even now, a deep, inexplicable love fills me for this baby. Yet, for all I know the fiction of dream may be nothing more than the imaginations of a yearning heart. How cruel.

It isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that 2,000 years ago my Savior was broken for me. In a world of pain, He freely offered His perfection as redemption’s ugly payment. Allowed His life-giving blood to be stripped with the human skin that barely held it in place, as shards tore at His form. Shards of my sin. Shards of my betrayal. Shards of the jagged ugliness welcomed by mankind. Death of the Holy One.

And so I conclude . . . I am unworthy. My questions continue. My wonderings at the injustices of imperfection mar my serenity. While my heart will not be silent, I yet testify to the injustice I welcome – salvation bought by blood.

Behold the juxtaposition. Death and life. Ugliness and beauty. As I witness the irony played out in endless stream, the leaves continue to fall. A dirge of curling brokens and shriveling browns outside my living room windows.

Related article that touched my heart this weekend:

“Life is not fair” by http://stillcountingstars.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/life-is-not-fair/

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