I am thinking through – or trying to – my personal theology of work and daily life (my understanding of God’s relationship to my world). Trying to figure out and appreciate the activity of God in the daily parts of living; you know, my relationship with Leo, the family, visitors, the grandkids, study and work and how my faith mixes with all these things; where God is in this ordinary daily stuff and what he wants from me.
I do not have it all sorted out. So this might just sound confused or extremely boring and I really do not want to bore you. So skip this if you want to read someone who has it all put together.
Sixty years and I still have so much to figure out.
Sunday morning I was sitting on my bed reading Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours. I was sitting on my bed since my usual prayer space was occupied by a grandchild’s crib. (And I do not resent that sort of intrusion – much.) Leo was away so I had lots of private space and a large window to look out from. The sun was rising and the sky was clear. The bare branches of the tree in our neighbor’s yard were silhouetted against the bluing sky and the evergreens below the window were white with snow. It was quite beautiful and I experienced an intense sense of gratitude for my ability to see; not only my ability to see in the physical sense but especially of my ability to “see” or recognize beauty. That ability is a gift that lets me take a good photo, appreciate an artist’s rendition of objects and enjoy those moments of beauty in nature that take my breath away.
Now, I could completely miss these moments when God visits with me and gifts me with little glimpses of his hand on me and around me, but this Sunday morning I understood.
Much of my life seems to be like this. My family comes and sometimes I think that I am going to be too busy to stay caught up with my studies, too busy to do a good job at attending to other things I’ve committed to doing and I forget that my family, my husband, my children and especially my grandchildren are the most precious people in my life. Today I have them around. Today they need to be enjoyed for everything that they are and the riches they bring to me, blessing my life in ways that nothing else can. But if I am not careful, I can let my heart focus on the wrong things and miss the daily life where God has placed me, letting myself get bogged down in the pressures of study and commitments to things that ultimately can wait.
I face these same dilemmas at work too. Work can put pressures on me that cause me to forget that first and foremost, I was given gifts to heal others. Some days I see my purpose more clearly than others but there are days when I have to deliberately choose to extend the love of God to others. My physical eyes see ugly stuff, neglect and brokenness. If God doesn’t gift me with his vision that is all I will see. I need God to enable me to see people with his eyes, his creator’s eyes; to see beyond the mere physical existence of another in order to appreciate their value and extreme worth as image bearers of God – intensely beautiful and worthy of love and my best care.
Some days I want so badly to be done with my practice so I can get on with studying about God in my seminary classes. Some days it is so hard to be patient. But sometimes God opens my eyes to almost see – that seminary is all fine and good but I am who I was made to be, doing things I was gifted to do right now and that I must live fully where I find myself now. God wants my “now” not my yet to be determined future. It sounds simple. But it is oh so hard to live out.