A Story Worth Sharing

I’m following the story of a friend of mine who has donated half her liver to a friend. Today, I read a post by her husband in which he describes the “throw away moment” when they met the neighbor, Suzanne, who–18 years later–would send out a plea for a liver to save her mother’s life. 

There was no way to know, back in the summer of 1993, that my friend would meet the family who’d receive half her liver nearly 2 decades later.  The husband writes:

“There is a lot to this story, and I’m the first to admit I’ve missed much of it. And I’m sure I’ll miss much of the story to come. It’s hard to see from my vantage point.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m not overcome by the little bit of the story I manage to grasp: that somehow, on that humid August night in 1993, something was going on that was bigger than me.

I don’t have to grasp it in order to marvel. I don’t have to subdue it in order to worship.

There are no throw away moments in history because there is a Playwright.  And even if you miss virtually all of the connections in your story, you can still stop to thank God for those few moments you see, and, most of all, to thank him that there is a Playwright.

In fact, telling this story makes me pretty stoked for tomorrow. Wonder what “insignificant moments” might come my way in the morn . . .”

All morning, I marvel at what I cannot grasp:  today I will have hundreds of insignificant moments that God orchestrates into some grand story–bigger than me, bigger than us all.  I might not get to read the story now or even in a decade. 

But there’s a Playwright.  So that means I have no insignificant–no throw away–moments. 

_________________________
Journal:  What insignificant moments have I seen turn into marvelous displays of some greater story? 

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This is Some Ice Storm!

Our yard and driveway transform overnight into a skating rink.

The trees bow or else raise their limbs to silvery worship.

The ice cannot discriminate; it covers all things equally, thoroughly.

That ice, although dangerous, makes this winter morning glorious.  I look out the window and see how the ice upon the winter berry bush acts like a giant magnifying glass directing my gaze towards those buds. 

The children pull their snow pants on over their pajamas and hardly finish breakfast.  They skate on the driveway and worry over the tree limb that carries their tree swing.

It has no choice but to bend in a storm like this.  Lord, let me be covered like this–thoroughly–with whatever reflects your glory.  Let me bend and bow.  In this way, I will not break. 

_____________________
Journal:  Where do I need to bend and bow (instead of remain stubborn) today?

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The Danger of Inviting God In

Last night, my youngest daughter and I read together from a book, and it occurs to me that she’s actually reading.  She’s actually reading words.

She’ll never be the same.  Once you learn to read, you can’t undo it.  You see a word, and you must read it.  You can’t refuse.  The effects of learning to read are irreversible.

And involuntary.  Try it.  Look at a word and try not to read it.  You just can’t help yourself.  You’ve cracked a code; you’ve escaped from a labyrinth and nothing will ever look the same.

It reminds me of a life of faith.  The Teacher shows you how to crack the code; you’re out of the maze. 

A life of faith irreversibly alters the way a mind sees the world.  It shimmers with the radiance of God’s glory, and you interpret everything through the lexicon of God’s love, goodness, and power.  At first, like for a young reader, the process is slow and basic.  You recognize God in obvious ways, perhaps recounting answers to prayer, emotions felt in worship, or wisdom gained through Bible reading.  But then, you find you’re really reading.  You can’t help it.  You read God in the tiniest moment and see into the life of things.

You’ll discern the truth about this world.  Your heart will break, and you’ll want to hug strangers in grocery stores. You’ll start worshiping God when you see an acorn, a seashell, or a cat’s missing eye.  You’ll see a spiritual narrative behind even the garbage in the parking lot.  You’ll write a blog every single day because you can’t contain the worship and keep it all to yourself.

You’ll want to proclaim things. 

That’s the danger of inviting God in.  You will learn to read, and you won’t be able to undo it.

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This Isn’t Normal

I’m standing in my clothes, waist high in water.  I’m baptizing, with my husband, a great friend.  I’m invited to join in this ancient ritual, this sacred symbol of the old person buried and rising to new life.  I suddenly realize how average I am, how mortal, as I participate in this divine act.  This isn’t normal. 

All morning, my concept of normal gets pushed aside, flicked far away.  First of all, I’m at a worship service in somebody’s front yard, overlooking the mountains.  I’m slapping my thighs to the beat of the Bluegrass band.  I’m drinking root beer.  There’s a banjo, even.  Can this be worship?  If not, then why am I overcome with the sense of God’s presence? How is this normal?

Then, the woman sharing a picnic blanket with me starts talking about her children.  A teenage girl lounges against her, and little girls play with her purse and makeup.    She tells me that she always wanted a big family. But these aren’t her biological children.  These girls have other mothers.  But ask her about the sleepover parties she hosts, the children she loves, and her dreams of running an orphanage and providing foster care.

“Right now, I have so many children, it’s ridiculous.  And I’ll have so many more,” she tells me. 

She’s a mother in the fullest sense of the word.  She has a divine calling to mother.  I look around the worship gathering.  I can’t even find my children.  Then, I see they are with another mother doing a craft.  And then, another mother’s daughter lies back into my lap and touches my face.  She gazes up at me, and I stroke her hair. 

My definitions are so narrow in scope.  When I broaden them, let out the hem, loosen the strings, and release the word, I find that what I think is divine, what I think constitutes worship, and what I believe motherhood means changes considerably.

What other words need broader definitions?  Living with flair means I don’t limit the meaning of the words that define my life.

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