I don’t know about you, but in light of the tragic loss of one of our community’s young people, I found myself lingering over prayer both last night and this morning for my children, for all of our children, and for the family that is experiencing tremendous grief. Deep prayers–real prayers. Prayers that contain words. Prayers that contain words that can’t be found.
And today, I’ve been thinking about the world just a little bit differently.
Oh, it’s nothing profound. It’s nothing earth-shattering. But I think there is a slight deepening within my soul of appreciation for the simple things.
I, like you, like all of us, get so wrapped up in my own world. The work projects I have due, the health insurance decisions that I should have made yesterday, the overwhelming to-do list, that upcoming parent-teacher conference. I let the worries and the stresses of the day–and the days ahead– blind me to what is really going on right in front of me.
- Like my elderly neighbor who just returned home from a lengthy hospital stay
- Like my single parent friend, who is rejoicing because she successfully changed out a spark plug in her mower and the cables in their vehicle and deserves a pat on the back for that
- Like my child who woke me up last night just to tell me that he loves me very much
- Like the fact that God is awakening the earth from winter and the trees are budding and the breeze is flowing through my house
- Like my friend whose home-study is today for adoption from Honduras
I am blessed by friends who have experienced much suffering. Do I wish for their suffering? Heaven forbid, no! Never! Yet, they are blessings to me, because by watching them and their wrestling with God, they teach me about the nature of God. I am also blessed with friends who have been blessed by God. They teach me how to respond joyfully to the simple things in life.
And I, too am blessed both by the sufferings of my life and the blessings of my life. For through both of them, God continues to pour off the dross (and there is a LOT of it!) of my life, teaching me more and more about the work He did for me on the cross.
I received a simple gift today. I receive this same gift about once a month. A couple in Hawaii know how much I love words. Their gift to me is to send me a small stack of cards occasionally with uplifting scriptures and quotes on them. Such a simple thing, yet such an encouragement to this word-loving girl.
What can we do, my friends, to celebrate the simple things together in community? What can we do to reach out in simple gestures of real love to those that are hurting?
A friend of mine did what she could today, she wrote a letter to the grieving family I told you about at the beginning of this post and she delivered it. A simple gesture of love and prayer.
I have a shoebox full of cards and notes from friends all over the world that arrived in the aftermath of Jack’s incarceration. I still take that box out about once a month and read through each and every card of love and encouragement. Most of them simply say “I am so sorry”, and “We are praying for you and the children.” Just to read those words gives me the courage to take another step in this uncertain world.
So today I am trying to remember the simple things. Today I am holding my crew close to my heart. Today I am asking God what it is I need to be doing more of to touch lives, because the ideas and the thought to do so doesn’t come as readily to me as it does to so many of my friends who are gifted with the gift of acts of kindness. I want to be more like them.
This is the Psalm that has been on my mind and my heart all day. It reminds me of the grandeur of the simple things of God. It reminds me to remember to ask “Who am I, that the God of all creation would care to see my worth?”
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b]
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.