“With every sun’s rising, surprise us with your love, satisfy us with your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive.” Psalm 90:14 (The Voice Paraphrase)
Meister Eckhart once suggested: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you, that would suffice.” Those words have had a profound impact on my life.
Let me ask you: Have you every drawn a life map? I often use them with people to help them describe their life journey. You draw a line on a piece of paper with your birth year on one end and today’s date on the other end. And then you chart your life’s path along the line. I find that when most people do this, they put all of life’s joys and triumphs above the line, and all of life’s difficulties, losses, and pain below the line. In our evaluation of our lives, we almost always divide the times of pleasure from the times of pain.
What would you put above the line? How about things like weddings, receiving an honor, the birth of a child, starting a business, accomplishing a goal? What about below the line? A job loss, the death of a loved one, a divorce, a financial crisis, a serious illness, this time of isolation. Understandably, most of us want to live our lives above the line. That seems natural, right? Who wants to live below the line? Especially in these days, you and I know that tough things happen, ones that we cannot control. When we divide our lives in this way, we live trying to receive only the good things and to brace ourselves against the bad. So, my question today is this: Instead of immediately dividing life into blessings or curses, what if we began to look for God’s presence in the midst of all of life? What if we began to suspend judgment about whether something is a blessing or a curse?
For me, I know that when I am going through a difficult time, it is often harder to feel grateful. It is in times like these that I try to look for the blessings in disguise, and to trust that someday I might see those blessings. And when we begin to look for something to be grateful for in situations like the ones we are experiencing right now, something subtle begins to shift in our minds, and the cup begins to fill up just a little bit. We find ourselves looking for the good things, instead of dwelling on the difficult things.
Rev. Dr. Deb Kaiser-Cross
Minister for Congregational Care
Practice for This Week
Just for today, look for a blessing in disguise.
For those who are weighed down by discouragement and sadness:
O God of creation, it is so easy to see your beauty in puffs of tangerine clouds against a darkening sky, but can we dare to see your face in the dark situations of life? We trust that gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, so help us to look for your blessings in disguise, trusting that you will bring goodness out of the darkness that sometimes overwhelms us. Amen.