These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights,
in whose character there is no change at all.
James 1:17 (CEB)
It all started this morning with my hot Dunkin Donut coffee (real cream, no sugar). I pulled away from the drive thru and was struck by the happiness that filled my heart just looking at the cup. FILLED MY HEART-really, no exaggeration! "What's going on here," I wondered, and then I realized what it was. That Dunkin cup, the whole transaction with the guy at the window-it all seemed so normal. So routine. In a world where things are changing so dramatically from day to day, that Styrofoam cup gave me a shot of constancy and consistency. The same shot I get when I consider how steadfast and solid my God is.
Reminding myself that God is steady when life around me isn't seems to be my primary coping strategy right now (though I will admit that sometimes eating little mini Reese cups is a close second). As more and more people get sick, as unemployment soars, as church is temporarily closed, and as my tendency to withdraw into the isolation increases, I realize how important it is to fan the flame of Christ deep within myself. The light of Jesus, the internal "knowing" of the Spirit, needs to be regularly uncovered and visited, and one of the ways that I keep in touch with my Center is by appreciating what's around me right in the moment.
I talked several days ago about seeing God in the blessings of nature, and Creation's beauty is definitely one of the ways I continue to remind myself that God is present and near. The cardinal that swoops past me when I'm walking outside at work, the blossoms on the weeping cherry tree close to where I park my car-every good gift points to my Lord and God. Even the less than natural-like my cup of coffee-are pushing my thoughts to the Light these days.
As I consider a co-worker's sweater which just happens to be my favorite color (magenta). . . Larry snuggling up with me (he's a kitten, remember!). . . a prayer shared over the phone with a patient in the hospital. . .a card from a friend that comes in the mail in the middle of a stack of bills. . .I see an abundance of goodness in simple everyday things. I see joyfulness peeking out of the moment that is right there in front of me. Do I accomplish this every single moment? I wish I could say I did, but the harder things around me are, the more I think it helps me to try.
To some people, thinking like this might seem at best to be hokey, and at worst to be sacrilegious. Am I advocating for a denial of reality, a pie-in-the-sky kind of living? No, quite the contrary. I know I need to see where there is pain and sorrow and need, but as God's child, I have an invitation to be aware of the good, the blessing, and the gift! That is the hope that life in Christ gives us! I think of it as choosing a "generous orthodoxy," a lavish and expansive view of and belief in God's love, provision, and communication with all God's people. A "yes/and" world view rather than a "no/but." What is the world view that you will choose today?
Let us pray: Gracious and generous God, sometimes I am overwhelmed and lost in the chaos of life. Focus me and center me-on you. Always on you. Amen.
Deacon Erin Maurer
For further inspiration, enjoy Jeremy Camp's "Keep Me in the Moment."
Jeremy Camp - Keep Me In The Moment