by Dr. Tina Marcantel


Dust storm over Phoenix

Looking out from my patio at the foot of the Superstition Mountains, the Valley of the Sun stretches out before me. On a clear day I can see the cities of the metroplex: Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler to the southwest, Apache Junction, Tempe, and Phoenix to the west, Scottsdale to the northwest. Beyond the cities are the mountain ranges that define the boundaries of the valley. But this evening I see none of these.

Strong winds have whipped across the southern Arizona desert and have brought with them a thick cloud of dust that blankets the valley. Visibility is probably no more than a mile right now, and the haze obscures the familiar cities and mountains. It’s a bit unnerving to look out at a wall of dust instead of a clear and beautiful landscape, but reason—and hope—tell me that soon the dust storm will pass, the cloud will dissipate, and clarity will return.

Clarity is a comforting thing. There are times when I can clearly see what lies immediately ahead, what I can expect from decisions I make, what my purpose and goals in life are. I feel safe and comfortable and my body and mind are at rest with little or no anxiety. There is peace and balance. I may not see all that the future holds, but I look ahead without fear of the unknown.

But what happens when sudden storms invade my life, when outcomes don’t meet my expectations? The loss of control I experience in these times can cloud my vision of the world. I can start to question every decision, become paralyzed by fear of failure, and even begin to let hope slip away.

Hope, though, is not about crystal clear days. Hope is about not being able to see the familiar mountains and cities of the valley below me, yet still knowing that they exist. And, for me, hope is in knowing that my soul is committed to a Creator that I can trust to guide me through uncertainty and reveal expansive answers to my life’s questions that will open doors of great opportunity and ultimately bring joy.

With that hope comes a renewed vision, because clarity comes from living in that place of trust. Joy comes because I’ve trusted that I have always been surrounded by beauty and goodness, even in the midst of the dust storm!

When I was younger my mother would tell me stories of her “papa,” a country doctor who visited most of his patients in their homes. After offering what treatment he could, he would place his hand on the patient’s shoulder, look into his or her eyes, and gift them with the words, “Courage, my friend. Courage!”

Dear One, may I suggest that you take courage and hope in knowing that even though you can’t see your life with clarity today,  you are being guided by Divine Love. The storm will pass, the dust will settle, and you will once again see clearly all the beauty that life offers you.