There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
– Edith Wharton
The other day Tammy and I were out for our biweekly experience. We used to call them runs but seems we prefer to count steps instead of pace and words instead of miles. Our regular route is scattered with small farms, vineyards, and roaming chickens. Sometimes we encounter a curious dog, offering us a good excuse for a rest to shoo it on home.
This day we rounded the corner where the farm with the sign for free eggs sits. Our focus intent upon fixing all the problems, we ran without interruption until a yellow Labrador bounded across the yard. We hesitated as a matter of self-protection, unsure if our own dogs would go bonkers. Expecting to be greeted we stood, waiting for an exuberant meeting, but instead she stopped just shy of us at the newspaper receptacle underneath the mailbox. Gingerly she mouthed the open end of the plastic bag and tugged the local paper down and out of the box before trotting toward home.
She was not interested in us. She had a duty to perform.
We resumed our experience, laughing at ourselves and at the precious sight that seemed exactly reserved for us at that perfect moment. Our steps lightened along with our conversation.
We were given a gift. And we had eyes to see that gift.
These small things remind us of goodness in the world – a loping dog, a returned smile across the aisle, a conversation with someone you’ve just met despite lifting weights together for two years.
The goodness is there, surrounding us, we just have to have eyes to see.
I’m not finding 2019 much easier than 2018. I don’t know if I was expecting it to be. We like things to move in an upward trajectory but this doesn’t seem to be happening for us.
The difficult stories resulting from the government shutdown are gaining steam. Federal benefits for food and housing may soon be coming to an end.
And in my personal realm – there are tough stories with no relief on the horizon. Children are suffering, parents fretting. There is no shortage of concern for the people in my immediate life.
Cruelty in the name of God grows too. Hatred in the name of love is masked as telling it like it is, as speaking truth. Sermons implant white followers with the notion of persecution, that they are persecuted for what? Because they’re rejected?
Meanwhile, those who are truly rejected believe that God has abandoned them. Their churches and families cannot humble themselves enough to ask questions that don’t have easy answers. The truly persecuted are dying. They need and deserve our tender love and care.
And all the while I count these friends as some of my most precious gifts. They are beautiful souls who love so very well. A beautiful challenge to me. A beautiful challenge to all of us with eyes to see.
Each and every one of these gifts invite me back into simple gratitude, counting the moments as sacred talismans of hope, breadcrumbs of grace, touches of the Divine.
We choose to see. We choose to embrace kindness. We choose Love.
No matter what it costs.