WONDER

Sitting alone in the dark solitude of our empty living room,
  sipping my morning coffee and looking out our front picture window
 into the distant panorama of a residential street that had yet to awaken,
  I listened to the empty silence of a cold winter's morning.
 The frozen landscape crackled with the winter's bitter wind... 
 a fridgid contrast to my warm blanket and hot drink.
 I couldn't help looking at everything and saying as God did, "It is good." 
Only my voice had a touch of wonder in it, 
 while His had only satisfaction. 
So many days are spent chasing obligations and deadlines and paycheques
 and nothing special seems to stand out worth remembering.
 But lockdowns and quarantines and five such minutes in my living room alone
 simply me and God, just being still and truly seeing, truly appreciating,
 are worth a lifetime of chasing.

It was written by me, but inspired by a devotional I recently read by Susan Lenzkes. It was a real experience but captured again as I read her words and tried to apply them to myself. As most of you know, my #wordoftheyear for 2022 is “magic”, so I have begun to actively seek out the moments of wonder and awe. To appreciate the little things. Facebook memories of my kids a hundred years ago. So cute all decked out for a Sunday morning service. Knowing we are safe and financially secure for the start of another year. Hating lockdowns and school online, but thankful that technology allows us education and the ability to connect with others. Full bellies. Warm houses and clean water.

So much we take for granted. So many wishes for this or that. I am reminded that life is really, really fragile. Tiny humans are born completely dependent. Many return to that state of complete dependence as we age. Time is not our friend. This fallen world and all the “bad” that is in it makes me wonder: “Why on earth?”

For some reason, Psalm 8 has been popping up in my world all this week. If you have time, look it up. David wondered “Why on earth?” too. I love learning about the idiosyncracies of this fabulous planet we live on. And all the creatures that share it with us. How inventive is our God who created every living thing? Yes, even one small virus who has the ability to mutate and change and manipulate an entire population of beings. He is in control, my friends! But it makes me wonder, like the psalmist, if God is in control of the big things like the universe and all the small things like corona viruses, then “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” Somehow, He thinks we are worth it.

He looked at us, feeble humans, a little lower than the heavenly beings, and decided these made-from-dust creatures were worth loving and dying for. That you were worth dying for. That I was worth loving. Oh, the weight of those things! Wonder – full.

My wish for you and I this week is that we continue to be blessed in that realization. That we continue to seek for and see the wonder that is before us, behind us, and all around us. Will you join me as I look for it? Until next week, my friends!

Peace be Upon You

Oh, my dear beloveds… will you humour me in a little exercise? Take a big deep breath in through your nose and fill up your lungs to the deepest capacity … now let it all out in a big ol’ sigh. I don’t know about you, but I needed that after the last few hours. The weather outside has been “frightful” here in the last day or so, and old man winter is certainly making his presence known in our neck of the woods. Normally, I don’t mind too much… but last night both my hubby and my eldest son were out driving in it. Late, after dark, alone. And as much as my dearests tell me not to fret, the all-season, I repeat, not-official-snow-tired-car with ABS brakes make me nervous to drive in … for fear I am the only woman driver on the road who will find the obscure patch of black ice and go crashing into a telephone pole. Or worse still, a rambunctious reindeer who recently escaped from a small town Christmas parade finds my son on his way home in said unsafe car…

Anyway, you get the picture. I worry a bit about bad weather. I worry a lot about driving in it. I think I am getting old. Grandma genes are starting to settle in. And there is nothing like a taste of old lady frailty (read anxiety) to rob you of that peace within. I know you know what I am talking about. Seems fitting that this second week of advent is “peace” week. A gentle reminder to me to attempt to bring my heart back to that state of peace. Especially as we anticipate the nativity scene… all babies wrapped in swaddling clothes, quietly sleeping amongst the barnyard animals. (All the moms out there recognize that this, too, is far from a realistic scenario… barn animals, people… and what newborn isn’t screaming for food in the middle of the night?) but the story of Jesus’ birth brings our focus to a unique place: Bethlehem.

Let’s look at it a little shall we? I did a little digging and here are some”fun facts” I dug up about “Bethlehem, in the land of Judah”. In Hebrew, it is called “Beit Lechem” which roughly translates as the “House of Bread”. Perfect for Christmas holidays, I’d say. Warm toast brings me peace! Bethlehem is home to approximately 25 000 people… both Christian and Muslim. Interestingly, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the U.S. is home to 800 000 Americans… who probably see just as many tourists!

The proposed “exact spot” where Jesus was born is marked by a silver star, that leads to an underground grotto or cave. Of course, the surrounding area is the tourist mecca for those seeking Christian history. With a large market for trinkets and a chance to profit from the bus tours. Maybe as much as Bethlehem, PA. I’m guessing either would be a cool place to visit… (dreamily look off into the distance… House of Bread… Amish baked goods…) Still, the Middle East has been far from a “symbol of peace” in recent years. Or the U.S.A, for that matter. Which brings us back full circle.

As you continue on in your Advent journey of faith, may you be prompted with thoughts of peace this week from the only One who gives true peace. And may your anxieties be comforted … even as you drive along the icy roads of life.

Photo: wiirocku Tumbler

Reduce Reuse Refurbish and Repent

Don’t you love the way your computer seems to “know” what you’ve been researching? You search up one little thing and you are bombarded with ads for that thing for the next two weeks. Or you happen to “like” a video or post, and your inbox is over run with similar posts and opposing views from like people…even those folks you haven’t heard from in awhile. Isn’t technology wonderful? Algorythms and secret formulas that lock you in to keep you engaged… Hopefully, mittonmusings.com is on your radar and we get the repeat customers!

“Flip”

Blatant plugs aside, my feeds have been filled with “furniture flips” lately. Or thrift finds that people refurbish and renew. Then these folks go on to make a financially significant side hustle… making thousands of dollars in seemingly quick and easy revenue. I don’t know if “flipping” is as easy as they make it out to be on television … but there it is, tempting me to try. I love to thrift, but I don’t have that knack that some people seem to have. They easily see the beauty and potential in long forgotten objects. I want to, though. I love to see things made “anew”. Plus, I don’t like to see things simply tossed in the trash because they are no longer “fashionable”. Hence the hoard of craft supplies in my basement. I’ll use them someday. I will. And they will be beautiful….

I got thinking aobut that little prefix: “re”. Reuse, recycle, refurbish, renew… and repent. According to dictionary.com, that little prefix is defined as:

a prefix, occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition, or with the meaning “back” or “backward” to indicate withdrawal or backward motion:regenerate; refurbish; retype; retrace; revert.

Which makes sense when we are talking about redo or refurbish. We can even “recycle” lots of things over and over again. But does “repent” have the same prefix? Maybe not. Still, for the sake of argument, let’s decide for the moment that it does. Or maybe it revolves around the second half of the definition and one must move back before moving forward. That sounds a lot like how I repent. Or maybe how we should repent. We do something we shouldn’t and for a second, we need to step back and take ownership. They say that we have to “name it and claim it” in order to change our behaviours for good. In order to move on with clean slates.

It’s like that piece of furniture or house we want to renovate. Sometimes you have to strip off the old paint and pull off the wallpaper to really get to what’s underneath. Only then can you start afresh and move forward. Do you see it? I used to have to remind my kids about this. “Saying Sorry” means very little unless you actually change your behaviour. True, sometimes the “saying sorry” is the first step in stripping off the old, but true change only occurs when you keep going forward.

Then there is the “again and again” factor. Ever fall into the trap of “here you go, God – I’m done with this or that”, but then we take it back again and recoil into our same worries, sins and destructive behaviours. It’s tough. I graciously acknowledge that this is the hardest part of our faith journeys. The one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, day to day journey that leads us heavenward. But….

But. The reason I love “flipping” videos so much is the before and after. The “new” from the old is sometimes so different, the transformation is breath taking. And so it is with us, my friends. As we become new creatures in Christ, the old is (sometimes slowly) stripped away, revealing the true beauty that we were designed and destined to become. Here’s to one more step forward… and a little “re” now and then.