There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them sufficient.
Marilynne Robinson in Gilead
There are a thousand thousand people on any given day who cannot think of one sufficient reason to live this life.
There are a few thousand who will decide this is their last day.
There are a few who say goodbye.
It is enough for me to find just one reason to live today.
It is enough for me to help someone else find just one reason today.
One is enough.
… And now in vast, cold, empty space, alone.
Yet hidden deep within the grown-up heart,
A longing for the first world, the ancient one …
Then, from His place of ambush, God leapt out.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
That’s the mystery of us.
But then there’s the mystery of God,
lying in ambush,
waiting for the fulfillment of time,
the nexus of his grace and our vulnerability.
~Kathleen Mulhern “Hangs My Helpless Soul on Thee”
Sometimes, during a long night of fitful sleep,
when nothing makes sense and worry takes over,
I ponder the mystery of how our brains were made to wonder at all.
I long for a simpler time,
for clarity of purpose,
for laughter through tears,
for gratitude even in hard times.
Yet as I toss and turn,
I know my God lies in wait for me,
as He watches for the moment
when being ambushed is exactly what I need.
What’s enough? Countless times I’ve watched the sun rise like God’s tender mercy to gently lift the dark blanket from the earth, and countless more times I’ve watched the sun set in such a splendiferous farewell that it must reflect the fringe on God’s robe. I’ve seen the sky define blue and endless. I’ve watched rivers run to the sea, full as life runs to God. I’ve felt the sea roll in on the eternal note of mystery and assurance.
I’ve scratched the ears of dogs, laughed at the ballet of cats. I’ve heard the cry and gurgle of the newborn, played with children, rocked with grandmothers, learned from hundreds of teachers, some of them homeless, poor, and uneducated.
I’ve been loved and forgiven beyond all deserving, and all breath to tell of it, by family and friends and God.
I’ve been shaken, changed, and blessed a thousand times — and still — by the prophets, and by Christ. I’ve felt the touch of God, each time before I realized that’s what it was. I’ve shared in the cantankerous yet remarkable family of faith called the church. I’m conscious of being conscious and alive. And all that’s just for starters.
How much does it take to praise God? I have a couple of trips around the Milky Way past enough for that, no matter if I never receive another thing. So I best get on with it . . . and praise God that I can.
— Ted Loder from The Haunt of Grace
We forget, in our ever-inward focus, we were created for praise and to give all glory to God. We are given mouths to sing, hands to clasp, eyes to witness His wonders, forgiveness to try once again to get it right.
Even so, we don’t even recognize the touch of God.
May we, the flawed and broken, meet together today in His church as a family of faith to praise God that we are able to praise Him.
What greater reason is there to exist?
If humans could be
that intensely whole, undistracted, unhurried,
swift from sheer
unswerving impetus! If we could blossom
out of ourselves, giving
nothing imperfect, withholding nothing!
~Denise Levertov from “The Metier of Blossoming”
There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for.
~Elisabeth Elliott (born 1926, died yesterday 6/15/15)
a woman who lived with unswerving impetus in Christ,
withholding nothing of herself,
and encouraging the rest of us to blossom out of ourselves.
An infant is a pucker of the earth’s thin skin; so are we.
We arise like budding yeasts and break off;
we forget our beginnings.
A mammal swells and circles and lays him down.
You and I have finished swelling;
our circling periods are playing out,
but we can still leave footprints in a trail whose end we do know.
~Annie Dillard from For the Time Being