"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, May 30, 2008

6:39 A.M.

6:39 a.m. No, that's not the current time, but it is when the phone next to my bed woke me up this morning. It was one of those times when the sleep is deep and upon wakening, you really don't know where you are or what time it is. But the clock said 6:39 -- WAY too early for anybody to be calling just to say good morning. So instinct told me something was wrong. "Hello." "Ms. Nancy?" "Yes." "It's Cade. I missed the bus." "Again? Okay, what time do you have to be there?" "I don't know." "I think you have to be there by 7:30. Watch for me." And that's the way my day started. I made some coffee (extra bold!), brushed my teeth, slipped on some clothes, and told Sandy that God might have saved the boy's hide because my reading before I went to bed last night was on allowing God to call us to any role of servanthood He might desire. So I put on my sunglasses just in case I ran into anybody I knew, and headed out. (Honestly, it wasn't a hardship. I'm delighted my number is on his refrigerator.)

Thank goodness I was looking when I drove up to the house, or I might have run over the child. He was waiting crunched down in the driveway, hidden from sight by the blooming day lilies. (I don't mean that in a cursing sort of way -- they really are blooming!) The little fellow didn't have a book in his hand. Wednesday when I picked him up -- yes, he missed the bus Wednesday, too, but he had overslept -- or gone back to sleep (no casting of stones here), so it was much later in the morning. This morning he had literally just missed the bus by seconds -- actually saw it pulling away. I asked him if he didn't try to chase it for awhile, but he said that the driver will lose her job if she stops at a stop that isn't a stop. Anyway, Wed. he was so loaded down with books he could hardly manage to even open the car door. For some reason, they aren't allowed to carry backpacks the last week of school. But today -- zilch, nothing. I said, "Cade, don't you have finals today?" "Yes, ma'am." "So where are your books?" "I don't need them." "But don't you need to take them to school and turn them in?" "They're already at school." "So what tests do you have today?" "Social studies, language arts" and a 3rd one he named that I can't remember. "So, you didn't bring your books home to study?" "No, ma'am. I had already been studying, so I was ready." (Sort of reminds me of the parable of the 10 bridesmaids.) There was only one thing Cade was lacking. A way to get where he was going and culminate his first year in middle school. The little fellow had done all the right things and was ready -- even gotten up on time today, but the distance between home and his destination was still too far to get there on his own. And even if he could have walked, he still needed someone to vouch for him at the front desk.

That's the way it is with you and me. We can do all the right things, whatever those "things" might be -- go to church every times the door open, feed the hungry, speak kindness to the overworked cashier, even read our Bibles every day, but the truth is we're still going to need someone to vouch for us at the front desk. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me." Try as we want, the divide is too great, the chasm too deep. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All. As much as we try to make ourselves ready -- and, yes, we are told to pursue holiness and be holy, the bottom line is that we still need Jesus. He's the only way -- and the only One to vouch for us at the door.

By the way, on the way to school Wed., I asked Cade if his dad knew he had missed the bus, and he said yes. So I told him from now on just to call me and we'd cut out the middle man. Thought it might make life a little easier for the lad -- unless, of course, his dad reads this post. But after all, dad, it was only the 3rd time all year that it had happened. Okay, make that 4.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here Goes!!!!!!

Well, I've been wanting to do this for some time now -- but being "in my 50," (as "Big Mama" use to say -- I figure when I hit 50 next year, I will already be prepared for it!), I'm pretty, shall we say, inept when it comes to blogging. But at the encouragement of Leonard Sweet who said in order to keep up with the culture in which I'm living, it's something I must do. So, here I go. My first attempt... [I guess my greatest fear is if anybody will even read the thing. Maybe my mom will. But that's a start. So, thanks, Mom.]

Above my bed hang two prints: each of a butterfly. One says, "hearing the voice God in the silence." The other: "seeing the holy in the ordinary." Of the latter, I'm not one to normally do that, but I try. So this blog is about that. Looking for God in the ordinary moments and then creating this space as a way in which to communicate it.

Last week I spent a couple of hours at the beach on Tybee. It's got to be one of my most favorite things to do: get there early, find a swing, and, well... swing. If not for the heat that seems to take over the day, I could sit there until sunset. But after about 30 or 45 minutes of watching the waves (and people -- another favorite activity), I was encouraged by my man to take a walk. And since it was our anniversary, I thought it appropriate that I comply. It wasn't long before we spotted a couple of dolphins feeding just off the shore. Sandy said they were within a hundred yards, but it looked more like about 20 feet to me. Anyway, they seemed to "walk" with us the entire expanse of our trek down the beach. Even when we stopped to watch them, they stopped. How fun it was. Groups would gather and point. On one occasion, a cluster of young people came to the shore and asked us, "What are those?" When I told them dolphins, they said, "Are you sure?" Jaws plays on everybody's mind this time of year, you know. When they were convinced, one of the girls strode out into the (cold) water and began making her way into the deep to get as close as she could -- maybe even to PET one. Now how cool would that be? (Sandy did inform me that they bite so maybe it's not as cool as I thought.) However, my husband proved right once again in that God's playful creatures were more than 20 feet off shore, and before too long, the girl was headed back in -- or else she'd be looking for a quick date with one of the life guards.

It also became necessary for us to turn around, as we had not brought any sunscreen. But on my way back to the boardwalk, I thought to myself: is that not like so many of our relationships with the Lord? We are so content to just sit back and swing -- taking in this great view of God and, of course, enjoying Him immensely. We go to church, have our daily devotions, pray, even take in a Bible study or two. But then we are encouraged to move in a little closer and become a little more involved. God starts messing with us a little bit. He begins to show us the necessity of rearranging some things in our lives. Not for Him, of course. For us. To set us free from some things that bind and show us some things that delight. Quite honestly, moving from that swing where I was very satisfied caused me some discomfort. I had to exert some energy. I had to walk in the sun instead of swing in the shade, for crying out loud. But I would have missed the dolphins -- because I was content. And not really putting forth any effort in my relationship with the Christ, I would miss a part of Him that He wants to reveal to me. And then there was the young woman who dared to live life with passion. She wanted to get as close as possible -- even if it threw her in danger. But, oh, the thrill! Truth is, I was envious, because I wanted to live like that. I wanted to swim and play with the dolphins. I was reminded of Sir Francis Drake's prayer: "Disturb us, Lord, ... when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore." Or in this case, wouldn't leave the shore. So often we trade our passions for our fears. I know I do.

So -- passionate living. It's been a theme of several of my readings lately (Erwin McManus, Leonard Sweet, and even John Tesh), and it was the theme that day on the beach. It was just an ordinary moment spent in an ordinary way. But it made me want to lay down some fears and walk out into the deep. After all, that's where the dolphins play.