Finally, summer comes to Seattle. This morning is clear sky, cool breeze perfect. I woke not to an alarm, but because my eyes opened. I dreamed of wandering old streets in a town that was my hometown, but that wasn’t anywhere I’d lived before. I caught a bus, and when I got off, I’d left my computer on board, but the bus driver left down the street for me to pick up. And to describe the dream like that is terribly misleading and conveys really nothing of what I experienced.
Yesterday, I preached. The words were about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of the Heavens, and the topsy-turvy way it exists and moves in the world. A old friend was in the congregation, the kind of man that likes to offer vocal support in the old call and answer style, and I preached and he answered, and we danced in the middle of God’s truth spilling over us in a way that I can only describe as delightful and filling. Sounds strange to say it that way, but meaning and words and energies traded over a crowded room, everyone hoping divinity makes an entrance…makes for a rich moment.
I will never be able to communicate how I feel and think about the richness of life. I’m reading about brains these days, fighting my coffee urges, adjusting to massive change in my family life, my church life, my inner life. I drive in the midst of mountain ranges and pacific waters, feasting at ridiculous tables, lapping up flavors most of the world only dreams of. Art of all kinds, the creative spillings of our time’s most active and fertile imaginations come at me in print, in film, in pixels. Friends of various relational colorings meet me with handshakes, hugs, nods of head, stories, shared pain, whatever is in their emotional palate at the moment.
What makes it strange is that’s it’s nothing but grace. I have wasted so much time, wronged so many friends, come up short so often, left so much spirit on the table unspent. I don’t feel terrible about that just now, though over the years I’ve shoveled up enough guilt to bury myself scores of times. Frankly, I cannot imagine why any of us receive the rain of good that comes down on us even when life sucks. And just now, I’m thinking how offensive that sounds to anyone who’s life sucks not in perception, but in fact. People lost in circumstances they can’t control, fighting poverty or disease or injustice or disaster, perhaps stuck in addictions and abuses and other traps. Where’s the rain of good for them? And how shallow to talk of richness of life when disaster splashes over the front pages and homepage portals.
I don’t know where it comes from, this sensation in me that has always reminded me, even in my darkest depressions, and there have been so many, that even through tears, the fact that life is, is nothing short of stunning. Gurus of all types call us to be grateful, and I think that’s right. Several friends are either birthing babies or expecting, and as I think of them, I think of my children, who weren’t here once upon a time. I think of my Dad, and he used to be here, but isn’t anymore. And my own life is the proverbial stick of grass, planted here by nothing more than a passion of man and woman, and a thought of God.
I am grateful that life streams through me by no good planning of my own. In the end, for me, God is gracious and good, though I have spent much of my life blind, foolish, and quietly selfish, near cruel in my self-pity. Grace, we call it. Unmerited favor.
God is good. All the time.
That, we call praise.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow…