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Author’s Note: This piece originally was published on October 31, 2021, but in keeping with the themes of Thanksgiving and counting blessings, is being re-shared today.
It’s always a bit awkward coming back to the keyboard to compose my own writing when I’ve been away from it for a bit — whether it’s due to the press of business, of editorial responsibilities, of tending to/loving on family and loved ones, or plain and simple writer’s block, there’s always a sense that I should start with, “Sorry — I know it’s been a while…”
In fact, I’m chuckling to myself now because that sounds exactly like something I’d have written in my diary as an adolescent. Like my diary was sentient and surely sorely disappointed in my absence.
But I think what’s prompting that sense in me now is the recognition that when I do take/find the time to write, particularly when it touches on my faith, I’m returning to a much-needed communion with God.
The thing about my relationship with God is that I’m so secure in it — so certain of His presence and His love, even in the darkest, scariest of times — I sometimes — often, in fact — take it for granted. Several weeks ago, someone close to me remarked on my seeming calmness in the midst of a crisis. I laughed and assured her, “It’s all an act,” envisioning that meme of the duck paddling furiously beneath the surface while seemingly gliding across the water. Truly, if ever there were a meme that defined me, that’d be the one. Although come to think of it, that implies a certain level of serenity and grace on the surface that isn’t necessarily warranted.
But those times when I’m able to keep my wits about me in the midst of a storm, that’s 100% God. That’s me knowing — to the core of my being — that no matter how choppy the seas get, He’s got this. So my job is to focus on those tasks that are within my mortal skillset: prepping the case for trial; presenting evidence and argument to the jury; sitting at a loved one’s side when they’re not well and it’s up to the doctors and God above to heal them; making phone calls and sending e-mails and coordinating things; running to pick up the kiddo when her car is stuck or her keys are locked inside it; futzing with Mom’s TV until it works right again; copy editing and scheduling the wonderful contributions of my colleagues here; picking up the poop of a Floof who doesn’t quite get that’s what the yard is for…
These are all things I can do. And I can do them secure in the knowledge that God’s got the big stuff handled. And it’s not that I needn’t worry about it at all, but rather, that I oughtn’t waste energy trying to figure out how I’m going to handle them (because I’m not), but instead on praying to Him and expressing my gratitude to Him for His mercy and grace. That’s the part I often forget, though. I know He’s there, but I forget to stop and acknowledge it. I take it for granted.
Communion was “served” at church today. I put the “served” in quotes because I attended online (as I’ve done for a couple of years now — I need to get back to in-person, but that’s a discussion for another day). So, when the pastors alert us ahead of time we’ll be taking communion, I grab a piece of cracker and a splash of wine (or grape juice, depending on what’s handy) and have it at the ready to partake. It occurred to me as I did so today that I’ve been gliding past the opportunities to commune with God lately, justifying it with the “Hey, I’m soooooooper busy right now,” excuse.
I’m busy? I am. Truly I am. But I’ve a sneaking suspicion He might be a tad bit moreso. And yet, He is there, managing it all. I don’t know about paddling furiously beneath the surface, but I do know there’s so much He’s doing that we can’t (or refuse to) see.
The topic today (and for the past several weeks) was/has been the Book of Revelation. If you’re at all like me, that one has a tendency to make you recoil. Because it’s scary and ominous. (Coincidence that this is Halloween?) But, as the pastor walked through it and the recurring themes of the book — and of what it means to be a believer and one who communes with God — I was reminded that it really isn’t. Not when you realize/remember that God is there in/through all of it.
I do realize that, though sometimes I forget it — or forget to acknowledge how amazing and wonderful a thing that is and express my gratitude for all that He is and does.
Tomorrow being the start of November — the month of Thanksgiving — I’m going to try to be a bit more mindful of that; to not take it for granted, but to be more intentional in sharing my appreciation for the many blessings God has given me and for being able to rest secure in the knowledge that even in the darkest of times, Jesus wins.
If you’re so inclined, below is today’s service. I’m grateful for the nudge it gave me.