Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Present

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:24)

He sits by the patio door and watches for hours. Nothing can deter him. If you call for him to come to you, he comes but then quickly returns to his post. He watches for anything that moves... a chipmunk, a squirrel. All day, every day, Cooper has a job, watching and living in the present.

The amazing thing is that he seems to not care at all about what happened in the past. He really has very little baggage. We don't know much about his past as he is a rescue dog, but he does have signs indicating that at one point he suffered physical abuse and neglect. We know that when the rescue organization brought him in, he was so matted that they have to shave his fur nearly down to the skin. But in living with him we see very little evidence that he carries his past with him at all.

There is no paw wringing about what might be in the future. He doesn't wonder about where he will sleep or his next meal. He seems perfectly content, right where he is. Cooper is a goofy, happy, joyful dog who lives in the moment, who lives in the present. He doesn't miss much in his attentiveness to present day living.

Being with him is good for the soul!

...grace and peace...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

In The Thick Of It

"Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner." (I Peter 4:12-13)

This morning brings grace and blessing in the knowledge that God is with us. Especially in the midst of a very long week, full of both joys and sorrows.
So how does one "be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced"?

To be honest, I am a beginner at learning to be glad in difficult times. But sitting here, I can't help but wonder if perhaps "being glad" is not about being happy about the struggle or hardship. Seriously...who gets all joyful about cancer or job loss? But rather our joy is in "being in the very thick of what Christ experienced".

What Christ experienced as a human, was God with him. We see evidence of the presence of God when he is ministered to by angels after being in the wilderness. We read about the affirmation of God in his baptism as a voice proclaims that Jesus is his "beloved son". We read about Jesus praying to the Father and then performing miracles.

Perhaps this joy and gladness comes from knowing that God is present in every circumstance...good and bad. His presence is found in the helpfulness of medical professionals. His presence is heard in the encouraging words from a friend. His presence is seen in the tears of the companions who journey with us. His presence is whispered in the voice of a spouse who says, "You can do this". His presence is felt in the nudge from the nose of a faithful dog.

Indeed God has been, is, and always will be present with us! We only have to open our eyes to see it.

grace and peace...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Of Being Restored

My life He brings back. (Psalm 23:3)

Robert Alter writes about about this verse in The Book of Psalms (2007)..."The image is of someone who has almost stopped breathing and is revived, brought back to life."

I don't know about you, but I have fallen in love with that imagery.

We all have heard someone talk about something in their life that is "sucking the life" out of them. I think this is how we almost stop breathing, and then somehow are revived, brought back to life.

The miracle of being brought back to life is that this is not something we can do in and of ourselves. It requires the intervention of another. Throughout most of night and into early morning, I found myself praying about today's visits with our oncology team. Frankly it is only a short hop from daring to hope to utter despair. But as I prayed, the words of Psalm 23 were re-membered in me. I wasn't sure how, but I knew...I just KNEW that I would be brought back to life.

And there you were.

This day many of you have already intervened, offering encouragement and prayers through social media, texting, and emails. This is how God seems to bring us back to life...through one another.

So thank you...for bringing us back from the edge, for having a role and for doing your part as God brings us back to life. Our gratitude is overflowing...

grace and peace...

photo credit - Facebook Surf Dog Ricochet