Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Live for Moments Such as This

You wouldn't think it to look at my office from the outside, but it affords me a fantastic view--I can see the hills that border the Lower Columbia basin that Longview sits in, I get to watch parents pick up their children from school, and on a perfectly clear day, Mt. Saint Helens is visible to the northeast.

So the blinds to my office windows are pretty much always open, even during torrential downpours like the one we had yesterday and that carried over into this morning.  And normally, today (Wednesday) is my "coffeehouse" day: I do the bulk of my sermon writing on Wednesdays, and I'll sometimes simply hop from coffeehouse to coffeehouse to do said writing.  I do this for a few reasons--one is that I have found that I am more diligent and productive when working around other people, another is quite simply that I'm a four-cups-a-day addict (a hazard of the ministry profession: I possess loyalty cards to at least four local coffee establishments).

But today, with as heavily as it has been raining, I don't exactly feel like getting in and out of my car multiple times.  I decide to work from home for a bit, and then simply drive straight to my church office and work from there today.

When a break in the rain coincides with a particularly challenging moment of writer's block, I look out the windows, see nothing falling from the sky, and decide that now would be a good time to walk down to the Dutch Brothers coffee shop a couple blocks away from the church.  The walk and the caffeine alike should help jump-start me into the next vein of writing.

So I throw on my overcoat and cram one of my knit toboggans down onto my head to insulate my completely bald pate from the 40-degree weather.  I make the two-block walk in just several minutes, head on up to the walkup window, and order my usual, a sugar-free non-fat double carmelizer.

The barista brews my double espresso, pours it into a cup with steamed skim milk and sugar-free caramel, and hands it to me.  I turn to walk away, and I begin to realize something: it isn't just that the perpetual Pacific Northwest rain has stopped, it's that it's actually sunny outside right this moment.  Perfectly blue sky extends above me in a couple of different directions.  The welcome sunlight dances across the lens of my eyeglasses and causes me to scrunch up my face and squint.

I stop, look up at the blue sky, and then back down at the ground as I sip on the warm, caramel-y coffee in my hands, and I see that on the blue lid atop my coffee cup, there is printed a single word.


And I do.  A smile creeps across my face, and for a glorious moment, as I stand outside underneath the sunshine, every stress in my life melts away, at least for this brief moment.

I stop worrying about the writer's block I have been experiencing this week.

I stop worrying about my congregation's financial circumstances.

I stop worrying if I am doing enough to lose weight.

I stop worrying if I am good enough at this job to see through the incredible transformation that we are still very much in the middle of.

I know that all those worries and stresses will come back to me--perhaps very soon--but at least right now, right this second, I feel completely at peace because my many burdens have been lifted, if only for an instant.

And so underneath the sunlight, amidst the trees with droplets of rain still falling from their branches, and in the crisp cold of February, I start praying right there on the sidewalk.

It is a prayer of thanksgiving, because I know that in my heart, I live for moments such as this...moments when I am reassured that God can, in fact, still provide.

Yours in Christ,

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