Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Small gifts

I once told my son I'd discovered the secret to happiness. Most of life is not huge momentous events that excite and thrill. I've had those moments, but the majority of life is the day-to-day routine, getting up, eating, working, sleeping, over and over again. The secret is to find joy in the small things. Because those things are really not small at all, but gifts from a God who loves us.

Here is an example: My girls wanted to have a camp-out in the backyard. Me in a tent in the backyard, sleeping on the ground? The things we do for our kids. Dad agreed to do it too. In fact, he was probably the instigator. He set up the tent and the girls excitedly brought down their blankets, pillows, and sleeping toys. Trying to be a good sport, I longingly looked at my bed and then carried out my pillow too. It was 9pm--almost dark, time for the big event. It's weird to walk around the backyard in your pajamas. We all climbed in the tent and zipped it up, except for the flap with the screen for air. To our delight, a huge orange moon was directly in front of our "window"! We hadn't noticed it at all in setting up. We were able to watch it for a long time before we drifted off to sleep. The ground was hard, but we have good grass that cushioned us. I'm thankful my bones are strong enough to sleep on the ground. We heard creatures we never knew roamed our yard at night-- screeching and calling and rustling and scurrying.

A verse came to mind that made me smile--Psalm 91:9, 10. "If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge--then no harm will come near your TENT." God is so good to us and his word is appropriate for every occasion! We cuddled together in sleep, all four of us, safe and protected.

In the morning, after compromising on a full-course breakfast cooked outside that the girls wanted, we had coffee and hot chocolate sitting in our tent, in our jammies, with our neighbors leaving for work. How silly! How wonderful! Then I thought, what a morning to tackle our garden! So before my enthusiasm wore off, we grabbed our tools and cleared the weeds. We have flowers everywhere--zinnias, cleome, daisies, cosmos and towering sunflowers to jazz up the vegetable garden. But the vegetables had a glory of their own today. Huge orange blossoms adorned the unruly pumpkin vine, with more demure varieties decorating the watermelon and cucumber. The girls discovered baby praying mantises and a giant black butterfly visiting us as we worked. Arielle noticed the first crop of beans, long green fingers dragging the ground. She ran for a bowl and busied herself picking them. This is life! This is joy! "He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." Acts 14:17. Even work is a gift. It is part of God's bounty and provision and care for us. Scripture tells us God walked in his garden in the cool of the day. Genesis 3:8. When we delight in his creation, is this part of being "in his image"? Enjoying what he enjoys?

Psalm 86:17 says "Give me a sign of your goodness." Well, this is it. There is plenty of suffering in this world and maybe in your life right now. But God is with us. He wipes away the tears and gives us joy again. We can rejoice, maybe not in our circumstances, but in who God is and knowing he's right there with us, offering his gifts.

Are we satisfied with the small things that really are not small at all?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone told me she tried to post a comment and wasn't able. So I am testing it out. Everyone is so SILENT! Please, let me hear from you. Of course, just e-mail if you would rather.