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Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Astonishing, Really

I was lamenting somewhere else about the fact that every day seems to be like every other day lately. There were a few who argued with me and tried to get me to admit that each day was a miracle. They are the people who invariably see a rainbow in every rainstorm and see the beauty in the seventh snow of the season. I am not one of them. I probably never will be. But it is true that there is something completely amazing about the fact that the sun does come up every day and the moon comes out every night. The fact that I can put one foot in front of the other as I walk from my bedroom to the kitchen and even walk about my workplace. I have these wonderful digital devices in my ears which enable me to hear things that I would not be able to hear otherwise. Some inventive person thought up the device and I own them! It's marvelous really.

When we stop being so surprised by the everyday? When did the fact that babies are born and flowers come up every spring and rain falls from the sky stop being amazing and start being mundane? I think it started when we were growing up and we could take things for granted, things like sunshine and puppies and new mechanical devices.

And so this Lent, I'm going to try being aware and awake. Seeing the new and the old as something worthy of notice. I hope you will join me in rediscovering the miraculous of the everyday.

The Boat Image

The daily devotion I received today talked about the image of the disciples in the boat with Jesus when the storm kicked up. Remember that? They woke him up to ask if he cared whether or not they drowned. There are so many pieces to this writing that I'm tempted to not tackle it at all. But something stuck out in my mind and so I'm writing about it.

A few (okay probably more than a few) years ago there was a movie about a great white shark terrorizing people in a small town. I remember seeing this movie in the theater with my future husband and my younger brother. There were lots of tense scenes with suspenseful music adding to the tension. But the scene which got my brother and many in the audience as well, was when the chief of police's son fell in the water and he had to get back on top of the overturned boat before the man eating monster got him. The kid in the water was so scared he pretty much stopped moving, which is what saved him from the shark, as the shark didn't really even see him. I recall my brother (and several others in the darkened theater) whispering, "get in the boat, get in the boat," with a sense of urgency until the crisis passed.

What does this have to do with the reading? Well, in many ways the crises that surrounds us: waves of guilt, temptations and pain leave us feeling bereft of any boat, any support, any help at all. We are at the mercy of the wind and waves and maybe even great white sharks of doubt and deception. We ask if anyone is there to help us. Anyone to assist or care for us. We feel very alone on the sea of life at times and would appreciate it if Jesus or at least the Holy Spirit would show up or at least act like they realize we're having trouble staying afloat. We need to get back in the boat with Jesus.

And that's what the problem is, you see. We are looking at these things from the wrong perspective. Jesus and especially the Holy Spirit are with us, in the boat, on the sea, riding the waves. Right next to us. Being aware of the next big swell, the next leviathan, the next rocky shoal. We need to stop looking for the lighthouse and look at the light. The hand right in front of us. Jesus never promised us that we would not have these times of trial. He did promise us that we would not be traveling alone. Because even the Paraclete would be there if we would only acknowledge it's existence.

So, I guess it's time to get back in the boat, the one with Jesus at the helm. The one where we trust him to navigate the daily trip, past the really scary parts, and remember he is there when get to shore.