Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Final Sale! [or, happily and literally, the point of no return]

I was happy to walk into one of my favorite stores to discover that they were having a sale on sale items.  Fortune smiled on me as I snagged great finds at great prices.  As I came to the register, the clerk said “Just so you know, these items are on final sale.”

“Okay, that’s fine, thanks.”  A smooth response on the exterior was accompanied by an inward moment of brief panic, a darting scan through my items, aaaand the moment of decision.  (Very important matters here.)  I bought them all. 

As I have unpacked or worn the items this week, each time I rip off a tag, I am reminded that I don’t need to deliberate; I already made the decision, these are mine, and I might as well wear the heck out of ‘em and enjoy the odd sense of freedom that comes with the ‘final sale’ decision. 
The month has been full of good conversations.  Recently I spoke with a friend about the impossibility of having a cake and eating it too.  Other than the obvious point of the proverb (I must choose one thing or the other), it’s worth noting that by wanting both options but failing to decide, I lose both options.  By staying committed to indecision, inner paralysis wins, no choice is exercised, and neither option gets a fair shake.    

But, if a choice is made, if one option is pursued, I can learn if it’s right or wrong.  I can experience joy and sorrow instead of paralysis.  And I can just experience…period.  Using what I am given, in the time that I have, keeping goodness and truth in mind, I just need to choose.  

“And you have your choices.  These are what make man great, his ladder to the stars.”
- Timshel, Mumford & Sons

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” 
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Beauty: in the eye of the mover

The ominous springtime sky makes for a beautiful drive through the streets of town.  Large amounts of rain bring, of course, very green plant life.  So the trees, with young green leaves, were on great display yesterday. 

As I drove through an arch of trees like the one above, I really wanted to capture the moment…re-drive the street…take a picture …stop to get out?  I have stopped during drives to get out and ‘soak up’ the scenery, but it’s always awkward, or just not what I expect.  I get out and realize all of a sudden that I’m in front of someone’s house…and there are people around, and it that it looks pretty questionable to park, get out, and stand in the street looking at trees.  And even if there were no one around, stopping just doesn’t capture what I thought it would…it just doesn’t work. 

To experience the ‘beauty’ of a drive, for angles to change, for the light to cast new shadows, for new scenes to appear, I must move.  Though something in me wants to take it all in for good, there is something most beautiful about moving through beautiful things.  Beauty is suggestive, penetrating, but its capture is evasive.  I can only behold it if I am willing to leave it, to trust that more will be supplied.  

Columbia River, Washington State
Where I learned how to waterski.
I did not take the pic, but it does look like this...go there.

A friend of mine was struck by a hymn with the lyrics ‘Peace is flowing like a river…’ because ‘Peace’ and ‘constant change’ normally aren’t associated.  But upon reflection, he came to see that a river is actually peaceful in the best and truest sense.  A river supplies life precisely because of the moving waters; a river is fresh, replenished, and allows for migration.  If it was dammed, the life it supplies would be severely diminished.  There is life around a river because it is always flowing. 

So too, I have Peace when I allow Grace to flow through me rather than receive a little and grasp at it to keep it.  Was I not promised that I would be given water and never thirst again?  (John 7:37-38) Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.  As Scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”

Grace, like Beauty, is not meant to be stopped up, but to flow.  Like water in a river, Grace supplies life to whatever it touches.  It enlightens, invigorates, and changes forever that which it encounters.  And there is an endless supply, but only if it’s moving.