I remember when our first son was born. I would get up in the morning with a list of 20 things that needed to be done that day and when 11pm rolled around, I had accomplished one or two. He is 27 years old now with three younger brothers. I look back and treasure those early years. There is nothing better than being interrupted. God’s ways are always so much better than our own.
A new baby is a relatively pleasant distraction for most of us. Parenting, for me, has been a rich source of grace. My children were and still are reflections of truth for me, and I meet Christ in and through them. More mundane distractions that require our attention are annoyances like the broken washer machine, the computer crash or a mean neighbor. When they are resolved we have usually learned a new skill, or made a new friend. More difficult things that take our full time and energy like an illness, a job loss, or a broken relationship, are problematic in finding the treasure or benefit. I believe that our prayers to God are immeasurable in benefit even when healing and reconciliation are not the answers we receive.
But here’s the thing: distractions take us to outside sources looking for answers. Perhaps, we need to look within ourselves. When we look deep within, we find a source of love and grace that cannot be found in any medication, counselor or job. We find that in the midst of our human existence there is a divine Presence. When this happens, we begin to offer ourselves in radical thanksgiving as we navigate medical treatments, job interviews, and broken relationships. Yes, God is over and above us, but God is also far beyond deep within us. Try it today, when interrupted, if some distraction arises; breathe deeply, and pause, listen to your heart, look within your soul, and you will find that what you need is already there. Blessed are the distracted as they find the true source of life.
(Photo: Fingal’s Cave on Staffa off the coast of Scotland where it is said Mendelssohn wrote the Hebrides Overture)
I love to hike. There is something about entering a trail that draws you in to the quiet hush of nature. You find yourself surrounded you by leafy branches and whippoorwill. Your steps become intentional as you navigate around the occasional fallen tree. At the top of the mountain the hike gets steeper, just above tree line where the boulders and rock ledges provide tiny crevasses to get a foothold as you crawl up to the highest elevation. You haven’t seen the view from the top yet, but it is your single-hearted focus as your muscles burn and breathing quickens. This is my favorite part of the hike. Like the end of pregnancy, you love the baby inside of you and cannot wait to hold her, then realize you already are.
Think about that. What is the mountain you are climbing now? Which part of the path are you on? Are there others on the path ahead of you? What view of new life is emerging? Transformation is an ongoing process. Sometimes it seems like there is not too much going on. Perhaps things are happening at the cellular level, at the very least, oxygen is being exchanged, breath is moving, Spirit is alive.
In the already, wait wholeheartedly, for the not yet.
Post Script: My office renovation is waiting wholeheartedly for the recovery of our carpenter and friend who is receiving treatment for a medical issue.