After a week filled with media saturation and sadness at the brokenness of this world we live in, it was a delightful Saturday. Under crisp blue skies and abundant sunshine we bounced from a church service project to soccer fields to baseball games. We returned home to an afternoon of riding bikes with friends, ice cream downtown and an evening campout. So much life and laughter permeated an especially active day!
As we casually rode bikes along the river we encountered a dozen teenaged couples all decked out for Prom. Most were clearly uncomfortable with the pageantry and the parent papparaazi constantly adjusting them and forcing them to pose. While I know it is a milestone most treasure, from my vantage point on a bike in casual clothes with dirty faced children, the whole Prom scene seemed painfully contrived.
While I try to be the parent that embraces every stage, I confess I grimaced and thought: "Ugh. I am NOT going to enjoy that."
I would much rather be racing my snaggle-toothed children along the bike paths in yoga pants than dealing with tuxes and makeup and fretting over teenaged temptations. Just thinking about it makes my chest tighten a little.
As we zipped by, it felt like a good reminder--to be grateful and to savor these fleeting days.
The word savor conjures up such positive feelings. We associate it with goodness, gratefulness and enjoyment.
All of these thoughts were challenged a bit Sunday morning when our associate pastor, Bill, reminded the congregation that these are not our best days.
Last Thursday, in the throes of the destruction and heartbreak in Texas and Boston, I would have lifted hearty amens in response to Bill's reminder. Come quickly, Lord. Rescue us! Bring us the future you have promised. These are the cries of my heart when the world seems shaky and doesn't make any sense. The very time I wish to freeze in happy times, can't move quickly enough when we are uncomfortable and questioning. Tragedy turns our eyes for the help we know we cannot simply muster within ourselves. We long to be delivered to the Promised Land.
But what of the sun saturated, glorious days? What about the seasons when life is full and rich and sweet? Frankly, these days seem to be my downfall. I too often cross the line from simply being grateful for them to clinging to them. I mistake these glimpses of Heaven for the real thing. It is idolatry if I am honest. When I switch to cruise control, I don't feel as reliant on God. Grateful, yes...but not necessarily abiding.
The trouble with holding too tightly, is that it makes me prideful and greedy. Instead of extending my circle to include those who may need a glimpse of this laughter, light and joy, I tighten my circle in fear that we will lose these moments. I am fairly certain this is not the way we are called to live. Aren't we called to have our hands open to give and to receive rather than clenched to hold tightly to what we perceive as "it."
I forget that THIS is not it. These are NOT our best days.
And when it comes to laughter, joy, love, peace...there is no need to be greedy. Through the Lord there is always enough. His grace and love are abundant and eternal.
So today I pray for a Godly perspective--an abiding peace and attitude of gratitude that is not dependent on having the answer, or the sunshine, or my personal enjoyment of the chapter of life.
Circumstances change constantly.
Seasons come and go.
This world is not our home.
This life is not my life.
He alone is worthy of my clinging.