Rest…

Since on the seventh day God had finished
with the work he had been doing, God rested.

Genesis 2:2

I cringed as I considered all that I had to do. We’d returned from our vacation with two suitcases filled with dirty laundry. The refrigerator was empty and a hundred emails required attention. The relaxation I’d felt during our trip had vanished with the blink of an eye. After filling the washing machine with the first of several loads, I decided to see how our outdoor plants had fared while we were away.

As I rounded the corner of our porch, a slight flutter caught my eye. I stopped in my tracks to avoid disturbing a beautiful dove who rested on the edge of our birdbath. Though it was far too cold for her to be here, she rested peacefully. Such visitors usually fly off when I come near. Still, she remained content to stare in my direction. A ray of sunshine caused her feathers to take on a heavenly aura. As I wondered what she was up to, it occurred to me that she might wonder the same thing about me. When our gazes met, I realized that I hadn’t prayed much that day. The hectic trip home had distracted me from my usual sense of gratitude. Did this lovely dove intend to remind me to slow down and to do just that? I turned my eyes heavenward before she could reply.

Dear God, I will make a habit of setting aside my to-do list long enough and often enough to thank you!.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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J… for Joy

The Lord has sent me to bring
glad tidings to the poor…

From Luke 4:18

J is for Joy. Joy can be illusive at times. A recent off-the-cuff remark opened an old wound. I tend to let go of hurtful events from the past, so this recollection took me by surprise. I distracted myself by perusing the newspaper. This only increased my melancholy. I set aside the paper and picked up the remote. I surfed the channels until a news report caught my attention. The update confirmed that recent violence was accomplished to “honor” God’s name. I sank into my recliner, looked out the window and asked, “Dear God, what are we doing?”

We humans have hurt one another in God’s name since the beginning of time. Before I could repeat my question, a lone dove perched on our bird bath. Almost on cue, she turned my way seemingly to peer into my aching heart. Though a large blue jay joined her to dance on the rim of that bird bath, the dove continued to look at me. “Thank you, Lord!” I prayed aloud. Though that dove didn’t change the news that afternoon, she filled me with a morsel of joy just the same. Though she eventually flew away, perhaps to spread joy elsewhere, God’s joy remained with me.

As long as some of us continue to appreciate God’s joy within us and around us, there will be joy in this world of ours. Rather than allowing myself to be overwhelmed by wounds old and new, I must revel in God’s joy and share that joy at every opportunity.

God of Joy, help us to focus on your joy in spite of continuing attempts to distort and disfigure it. Help those of us who will to bring your joy into every moment every day.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved