Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Insane Pilots, Heros, and Grace

The pilot rushes out of the cockpit screaming. Intercom crackles, "Restrain him!" You rip your seatbelt off and lunge. With the help of a few others, he's pinned to the floor until the plane lands. 

Grace. Can’t it be obvious sometimes? And other times, doesn’t it seem missing in action?
What of times when airplanes don’t land safely, or when mad men shoot through little kids, or when thousands die every day simply because they don’t have enough to eat? Where is grace then? 

Why is it, when grace is given, we feel we don’t deserve it? 

And why do we feel we’re owed something in its absence? 

How do we appreciate grace when it becomes the humdrum of everyday life? And how do we continue to see it when pain rips it from view? 

Not everyday will you tackle insane pilots, feel the pulse of heroism pump through veins, but everyday you can conquer insane thoughts - thoughts that kill grace, destroy it. Fear-producing, pride-inducing, sin-seducing thoughts that not only trap you, but others around you. The only way to overpower these nutty notions is to give thanks for the grace around you, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. 
Simple, you say? Well, grace might be harder to recognize than you think. These insane membranes have been on the rampage a long time.
You choose to remain in your seat and let them wreak havoc or lunge at them and pull them down - pull them down with gratitude. The choice is yours. Will you be a hero today? 

*a piece written for a writing course I'm attending in Austin, Tx. The subject line was given to me and I had to make it fit with my thought: grace. Many of the questions I ask - honestly, I don't have answers. "Sometimes the only way to understand is to fall on your knees and say you don't." That's where I am. Perhaps only by going lower, deeper can answers truly be found. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

9-Year Old's Eye Salve

I kneel among stacks of ornaments cutting ribbon for the tree. It has been a long day...a long week (and it’s only Tuesday). My friend kneels beside, helping me. His little body coursing with Advent adrenaline. We’re transforming the evergreen. 

“This is the first year we’ve ever designed our tree!” he exclaims. I smile. 

The doctor walks in from a late day at the office. He reads of exhaustion, lines of weariness and illness mark his face. 

“Daddy, what do you think of the tree?” bubbles the boy. 

“It’s nice,” comes the worn response. 

“What do you mean it’s nice, Daddy? Isn’t it beautiful?” 

I sit there, back turned to the doctor, staring at my scissors. There’s a long pause.

“Yes, it’s beautiful.” 

The tone of his response melts me inside. This man - busy, stressed, overburdened, sick, doctor, as well as president of a college - he sees it. He enters into the moment. It’s as if the world pauses and all that matters is the tree, the beauty of it. 

But it’s my little friend who captures my attention. His curly head bounces with glee, his eyes sparkle with wonder, glitter sprinkled across his nose and cheeks glistens with the reflections from the lights. He’s reflecting the beauty because he sees it, he revels in it. 

And I ask myself: 
When was last time I saw through the eyes of a child? 
When did I stop being a child? 
Why is it that small things of beauty no longer impress? Why does it take the precipice of the Grand Canyon, or the snow-topped Alps, or the translucent waters of Lake Tahoe to make me gape in awe? 
What if I could be stripped of my “adult” lenses and look at the world through the eyes of my friend? 
How would that change how I view life and how I view God? 
Could I reflect beauty because I see it, I’m willing to enter in? 

Hmm - and so I’ve pondered these thoughts all week. 

“Daddy, isn’t it beautiful?” 
Perhaps it’s time we pause the world, enter into the beauty of small things, and become small things of beauty.