I am fasting right now. I almost didn’t write this post, because fasting is such a personal thing, and usually meant to stay between a girl (or guy) and her God, but in this case, it’s at the spark that ignited these thoughts, so it must be said. Back to where I started…
I am fasting right now, at the beginning of this holy, holy week. Holy in that it spirals into the most climactic of Christian holidays, and holy because I have never been gifted such a time of solitude as I am this week. Everything about it feels otherworldly, hallowed, wonderful. Yet, during this fast, I realize that I am often tempted to look towards the end of something, and thus missing the majesty of the moment. In this case, I am tempted to think of when I will eat again, rather than the present celebration of abstinence that invites nearness.
I look peripherally and see that I have placed a finger on the pulse of humanity. I am not alone in my plight. This is most assuredly a human problem. We are all waiting until we can clock out at work, until we have enough money to buy whatever we want, until we land a book deal, or lose that weight, or get married, or have kids, etc., etc., etc. Some of us are even stuck in the mire of the world’s ugliness, or our own personal suffering, and simply waiting for Jesus to bring us to heaven. In doing so, we’re missing the beauty of His Presence in THIS moment and place.
I heard Curt Thompson say it takes 3 seconds to memorize trauma and 60-90 seconds to memorize something beautiful. Maybe we have to stop looking forward, in order to memorize what’s beautiful right in front of us.
I am sitting, right now, with the sliding glass door wide and a pleasant breeze rushing over my skin, and am reminded that God gave us our five senses, and it wasn’t just so we could feel the ground beneath our feet as we race towards the next thing. These senses are meant to bring us into this present moment of grace. To invite us into a deeper intimacy than we could fathom, with One who is far richer and more lovely than we could ever imagine.
Maybe this is a sliver of what it means to abide. We often think in terms of doing, producing, even living but always living in forward-motion. Abiding is where we simple be, and find our rest in Him. It says in the Psalms that “those who look to Him are radiant and their faces will never be ashamed” (Ps. 34:5). I think we’re trying too hard to make our lives worth something, when we ought simply to gaze at Him who is worthy of everything. Perhaps, those who have been most effectual in this world are also those who learned to rest and gaze and memorize beauty.