Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20-22, NRSV)
On Monday I was at my computer responding to emails and working on some upcoming programs when a call came through on my phone. I confess I felt a little frustrated. I was not expecting a call. It felt like an interruption to what promised to be a productive morning.
But my mood changed immediately when I saw that it was a FaceTime call from my three-year-old granddaughter. With the help of her other grandmother, she had called just to talk about how her preschool is going (a lot of Zoom and a little in-person), show us the jigsaw puzzle she was working on (she describes herself—quite accurately—as a puzzle fiend), and read books together. It was not the first time, and I am sure it will not be the last, but it was, and always will be, a gift. In her smile and eagerness to share, I see the sacred presence of God. It was a surprise, a holy interruption.
We have all heard the saying, “stop and smell the roses.” According to grammarist.com, this idiom is an admonition to slow down and enjoy life, to take the time to savor the beauty around you… [It] came into use in the 1960s and is a rephrasing of a sentiment found in an autobiography written by the golfer Walter Hagen: “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
Whatever its source, I appreciate both verbs. STOP. Whether it is work at home or somewhere else, a routine schedule that has become entrenched and inflexible, or a consistent, even unrelenting mood of sadness, anxiety, fear, or anger: it is easy to let ourselves become stuck in a pattern that does not allow for interruptions, holy or otherwise. We keep on going; we can’t stop. So, the first message is simple. Stop. Get out of your rut. Allow yourself to be interrupted.
The second message is fun. SMELL the roses. When you stop, survey the scene with all your senses. See the beauty around you. Smell the fragrance of the earth after a rainfall. Hear the bird’s song awakening the dawn. Feel the arms of a loved one embracing you. Taste the sweetness of a chocolate kiss. Open your heart and mind and soul to experience the sacred presence of God in that moment. Keep your spirit alive to holy interruptions.
Stop and smell the roses -Mac Davis
Prayer Focus: Children
Prayer: Loving God who has adopted us all as children, hear our prayer for children everywhere who are navigating the pandemic. Keep their bodies and minds safe from disease and despair. Surround them with people whose love and care for them will embody your abiding love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.