Amanda Barber

Stories, songs, and thoughts on life.

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Blessings and Sorrow

14 August 2014

What a chilly morning it was! I had to break out my cozy sweater and my fuzzy socks. It is a beautiful morning, though. The sun is shining brightly through my window as I sit at my desk and type. It feels so nice and warm on my face. I’m looking forward to sitting here on crisp winter mornings. At the apartment, the sun never shown directly through any of the windows and I missed that. Living in a house is so nice.

A ray of sun...

It’s been an odd week, full of blessings and sadness. Every day I wake up in this quiet, pretty house, in this relatively safe country. I feel privileged. And then I sort of feel guilty. After all, I’m not yet running for my life from people whose only goal is to kill me. It was a sad week as I thought about how many thousands of people have died from plague and war. Yesterday, my older brother and his two oldest girls came over and chatted for a while. In the course of conversation, my brother remarked that North Korea is starting to fold. It’s sort of a mess and they won’t be able to hold it together much longer. To my great sadness, my young, teenaged niece remarked, “Seems like every place is a mess right now.” How true. And if it’s not a mess now, seems like it will be shortly. What a world she has inherited.

How merciful God is. How merciful that He has not ended this story of the world yet. He is not willing that any should perish (eternally) and that all should come to repentance, even those killing minorities in Iraq. I would not make a good god. I would squash them like so many bugs over there. In fact, pretty much everywhere would get a leveling, since we’re all pretty awful when you come right down to it. But God is as patient and longsuffering as he is holy and full of wrath. How that works, I don’t really understand. While we pursue our sin, He pursues us. He keeps after us for years and years, giving us chance after chance to forsake our wicked ways and follow Him.

In the meantime, I have been trying to focus on good things. (I have a tendency to see all the bad and none of the good and behave in a morose fashion.) Here are a couple of neat things that happened recently. As I am always excited at spotting wildlife, I’m always on the lookout for places I can walk quietly and happen upon animals. There is a railroad crossing less than a block from my house. The other day, I followed it to the office of Duke Street Productions. Following the train tracks shaves quite a few minutes off my time. Anyway, as I was walking there, I heard a rustling to my left. What looked like a small dog ran past my peripheral vision. Instead of disappearing, though, it turned around and looked at me for about ten seconds and I realized it was a coyote. So there we stood, staring at each other. Then it ran into the brush and vanished. Last night, I took the train tracks in the opposite direction and came across four deer—three bucks and one doe. They just stood there like perfectly carved statues while I walked towards them, and they didn’t run away until I had passed them. I’m interested to see what else I can find along the tracks in the future.