Wednesday, October 19, 2011

God's Hands and Feet

Jasper National Park

            Its amazing to me how the little events of life can reflect on the huge movement of Purpose through our lives. Last weekend was a case in point: I’m not known for being early anywhere, but this particular morning I left in plenty of time for my 9 am eye appointment…however, my GPS had been stolen out of my car a few days prior, and I didn’t know the area as well as I thought, so I was halfway to Wichita before I realized I had missed my exit. On top of that, I realized as I leapt out of the car that I had left my purse at home.
What was going on here? I’m usually not such a ditz. A bit late now and then, true, but not a ditz. This time, though, I realized I was never intended to make that 9am appointment.  Certainly, there was no way of talking the nurse into letting me have the exam anyway. Frustrated, I turned to leave. 
A young boy and his mother came out of the exam room. One of his eyes was red and slightly swollen. “I’m so glad you had time to see us,” said the mother. “Don’t worry, “ said the doctor. “He’s going to be just fine.”
            The relief in her voice brought me up short. There seemed to have been been purpose in this chain of events. It may have messed up my day, but my being late had made a space for the doctor to see her son and bring comfort to them both. 
            This isn’t the first time it appears God has used me as hands and feet. I will admit preferring to be asked first, preferably in full knowledge of the cost, and I would rather have a choice as to the answer, but it doesn't always work out that way.  We might think of how events seem to conspire to bring us what we need, but rarely do we notice when we are being an instrument of Spirit in someone else’s life. And is that what’s happening? How much is the random outworkings of the Universe and how much Divine Will? In this instance I choose Divine Plan, or Divine Intervention as the answer, but the question is still open.
            The kind of incident I’m talking about is not like giving comfort to a sick friend, or helping someone in time of need. It is a random happening that brings joy or relief to someone under circumstances outside our direct control.
            Another occasion happened when I was shopping in Safeway. As I stood in front of the whelter of choices at the spice shelf, my eye fell on pumpkin spice. It’s not a seasoning mix I use, but this time I took special note of it, turned, and went on with my search. An older woman came up to me. “Do you know where the pumpkin spice is?” she asked in a querulous voice. “I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.”
            Was I responding to her brain waves projecting need, or being God’s hands and feet to bring her what she wanted? Or was it simply random?  With a smile, I handed her the spice, happy I’d been able to help. Some days I’m not so sure, but that day I believed in the outworking of God’s Divine Intention.
            These are not significant events, but they illustrate the purpose we can find in the apparent randomness of life. The same kind of outworking can happen, for instance, in a love affair that ends in sorrow, but allows one partner to rejoin life after the death of a spouse. Was this part of God’s Plan?
            Whether or not we are part of God’s Plan, its appropriate for us to celebrate these occasions! We’re returning to the world some of the blessings we have received. Volunteering to be an angel for someone brings great joy to both the giver and the receiver, but sometimes the best  “angel moments” happen when we’re unawares. Yes, I would prefer to be asked first, but relish these opportunities as well. They are part of the richness of life.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Coming home yet again...

          The fields were bright yellow with huge drifts of goldeneye daisies against the green as I drove out with the UHaul.  They were happy to remind me I can never really leave the mountain.  They are right, of course. And Larry called yesterday just to tell me that it was snowing, too, the first snowfall of the season. I can see in my mind’s eye the beautiful, soft flakes floating down the way snow does, outlining every branch and leaf.  He and the snow remind me, too.  I can never truly leave.
I ache to be there, but this time I ache to be here, too. My fellow explorers on this path greeted me, not with “Welcome back,” but with “Welcome home,” and indeed it has become home as well. Fall is in full swing, with yellows and reds intertwined throughout the meadows. The trails are full of deer, and this evening I saw a huge toad, spotted like one of our Apache trout, scampering out of my way. Its very beautiful. I could do a full meditation just on the yellow tree outside the Inn where we take our meals.

Where did the summer go?  I arrived home in the mountains to a contract in full swing, with twenty young men falling trees in the Wallow burn area; and afterward not just the mop-up of all the back office stuff, but the decision to move forward on a small sawmill project as well, providing we can talk the Tribe into the land to do so. We found providing good employment for these guys a joy, and wanted to keep going.
And that is what I did, right up to the time to throw stuff and cats into the car and leave.  I’ll continue to work for Larry here, as there is so much to be done on the computer and internet, everything from payroll to business plans, and I have the skills to do it. Not always the time – I’m carrying a full load, have nine papers to write and a retreat to do before December 8. In addition, there are an incredible number of extra-curricular things we are supposed to participate in, but I’m finding I’m ducking as many of those as I can simply to get work and school done and get some sleep.

It’s the beginning of a long journey, happy and sad, joyous and melancholy, scholastically demanding and peacefully prayerful. God accompanies me, both from within and at my elbow. Life is good.