Monday, August 29, 2005

Up Close

When I awoke yesterday morning, the rest of the world had disappeared into a thick gray fog. I looked out through the kitchen windows into a bluish gray haze. Then I noticed something. Right outside the window, a beautiful, intricate spider web was visible, jeweled with little drops of water from the moisture in the air. I went out on the deck and looked around--on the trees, on the flowers, little lacy webs, visible only just now, when the rest of the world was hidden. With the distance obscured, the present became very clear.

I thought about how that works in my life, too--when I'm looking far ahead, counting my chickens, making plans, I can easily lose touch with the miraculous right in front of me. Sometimes I need God to put me in a fog, to remind me that my future is still out there somewhere, and that the miracle of the gift of this moment is right here, right now, as close as the next rose bush, the nearest smile, the touch of a loving hand.

Friday, August 26, 2005


This morning for some reason I awoke with a thought about the difference between the spirit of competition and the spirit of cooperation. In our culture, we have prized competition because it builds (or so the theory goes) a strong, vibrant marketplace that ultimately benefits consumers. Our kids compete in sport and when they win--or even when they lose--we feel it's good for them. That's the way the world works, right?

But this morning I was thinking about the nature of competition and its down-side, comparison. When we compare ourselves with others, maybe we run the risk of putting more energy into the idea of separateness and making it seem more real. And maybe when we put too much focus on what we want to be one day, or worse, who--by comparing ourselves with others and coming up short--we might miss the many ways God has blessed us uniquely to love and serve others our way, creating something beautiful with our lives.

When we cooperate, we work together toward something shared. There is the feeling of traveling together, even if we tussle along the way. It's not our team against their team or our school against theirs--it's, "How can we all have a great time playing football in this program?" It is no longer the arts program competing with the science program for funding, but rather, "How can we provide the best education for our kids?" It's not even, "I do all the real work around here while he sits in his recliner and watches TV!," but "What can we do to make this relationship more alive, more fun, more fulfilling for both of us?"

Perhaps the spirit of competition turns our eyes inward, where we focus on what we need, want, desire. And maybe the spirit of cooperation helps us fix our eyes on something bigger than ourselves and our individual wants. I think cooperation is the harder of the two, because as we all know, we have to give up control and, well, cooperate with other sometimes unpredictable people--who may have different ideas than we do, about things we really care about. :)

But I think we'll get it, one day, perhaps in the not-too-distant future. They say the Kingdom of God is within us, right now. Maybe we just need to hold hands in order to find it. :)

Blessings on your day!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Looking Godward

Yesterday I slipped into a funk of frustration and discouragement. It's a very busy time--the boys have started back to school; I have three huge work projects with looming deadlines; I have just finished an intensive class (on Constructive Theology, which was wonderful) at ESR and will begin my fall semester classes next week. By the end of the day I felt disempowered and ineffective. I finally just gave up and went to bed. In the middle of the day someplace, I remember thinking, "My biggest problem is that during the day I forget God," but that leading didn't stay with me very well. A few minutes later it was washed away by a fresh wave of email or that growing panicky feeling that I'm falling behind on my writing.

This morning I made sure to take my prayer and meditation time; I wrote in my journal; I did yoga. Yesterday I had skipped those things because of the lure of deadlines. As I reflected on my struggles yesterday in my journal, it was very obvious to me how I hadn't--in spite of the quiet leading I'd gotten during the day--given myself the time to look Godward. I need that time. I need that action. I need to look to God, more than just in the morning and last thing at night. I need to look Godward through my day, remembering the source of my life.

Not long ago I realized something wonderful about my house. The front door is surrounded by beautiful etched glass, and way up in the upper right corner, there is a small sticker that says, "Godward Glass, Indianapolis, Indiana." When I'm feeling really low and in need of divine reconnection, I go look up at that sticker. I remember I am indeed looking Godward (which is also looking within, and appreciating the beauty around me, and waiting for God to touch my spirit). It's a powerful outward act for an inward intention. I hope you give yourself a moment to look Godward today. It's the thing I need most to remember--the breath that gives me life.

Blessings on your day!