Saturday, May 19, 2012

Just Be


Early May...Spring clearly here...I walked out onto the deck and ventured to the pond on our vacation rental.  There had been much hard rain overnight and the water was somewhat of a murky brown.  There on the surface, I saw this green, solitary leave...dappled with waterdrops.  Just floating, just being.

How do I just "be" a enough?  So many times my mind is racing so fast and I am caught up in endless activity...and when I am trying to have downtime, I still feel the need to be "doing" something.  How much do I miss because I don't stop?  What lessons do I not learn because I'm occupied?  And how many times do I do fumble the ball and cause damage trying to fix something by inadvertentlyy saying something stupid, rather than just be a presence for someone who is going through a difficult time?

My camera slows me down.  Writing slows me down.  But often, especially in my work world, I am more of a Martha vs. a Mary person.  And even if my body isn't flying thoughts are.  And I know I am not alone.  Even in the quiet, I'm thinking about a to do list or on the weekend thinking about what I need to do on Monday.  My thoughts ruminate and I get stuck.  And then I wonder, "Where is God?"  In essence, wondering why I do not feel close to him.  A perfect passage explains it in I Kings 19 how often God comes in a whisper that we cannot hear because we do not stop to listen...not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

I've come to believe that living fully in the present is a spiritual discipline.  It is my responsibility.  C. S. Lewis  paraphrases in the movie,  Shadowlands, about a painting he had in his nursery:  "We live in the shadowlands. Sun is always shining somewhere else... around a bend in the road... over the brow of a hill."  Eluding to how we are always wanting to be somewhere else other than where we are.  And yet, as a Christian, we are to be as children, just delighting in NOW.  Later in the movie, C. S. Lewis comes across the actual place in the nursery painting and says to his new wife, Joy:
You know, I don't want to be somewhere else anymore.
I'm not waiting for anything new to happen...
not looking around the next corner and over the next hill.
I'm here now. That's enough.

- That's your kind of happy, isn't it? (Joy)

Yes. Yes, it is.
I want to live as God has made me to delight in Him...I'm here now. That's enough.

With gratitude,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Mercies

"If we could see beyond today as God can see..." is my mother's favorite song.  And since October 2011, I have been challenged and inspired to seek the gifts God brings each day, through my photography, through Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, and of course, through God's Word.

I have not had a true conversation with my mother in almost a dozen years when she developed Alzheimer's. Today she is mute, sleeps most of the time, and has not known me for nearly three years or more.  And yet, despite the pain of seeing this wonderful woman await her Bridegroom as she endures what Robert Schaefer calls "the identity thief of the 21st century", I know there are gifts God brings in the middle of it all.  That is, what Ann Voskamp calls, "Hard Eucharisteos."

I am incredibly grateful beyond words for the 55 years she has lived out her faith before me, for demonstrating a servant's heart as she cared for her mother 24/7 for the last years of her life, and for her unwavering walk with Jesus that influenced me to walk with Him, also.

But what about now -- what about in the present?  Her hair is now long and I can french braid it freshly when I visit.  I can still touch her hand and pray with her and breathe in her presence.  I can feed her a strawberry sundae from McDonalds and play her favorite hymns and gospel songs from my laptop, knowing that the Spirit still ministers to hers.  I can find reasons to praise Him for the hard Eucharisteo...that makes my world stop and ponder about what is really important.  And I can kiss her forehead and stroke her face...little acts that someday I won't be afforded.  I can hear her singing her favorite song in my memory:

If we could see beyond today as God can see,
If all the clouds should roll away, the shadows flee;
Oe'r present griefs we would not fret, Each sorrow we would soon forget.
For many joys are waiting yet for you and me.
If we could see, if we could know, we often say,
But God in love, a veil doth throw, across our way
We cannot see what lies before
And so we cling to Him the more.
He leads us til this life is o'er, trust and obey.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I love you!