Taking the Next Step

Hidden Treasurer on Telegraph Hill, San Francisco. Photo by Roger Lynn.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” ~ John 10:10

We all know Murphy’s Laws: nothing is as easy as it looks; everything takes longer than you think; if anything can go wrong it will. Murphy was an optimist.

Here are some other thoughts:

A day without a crisis is a total loss.

The other line always moves faster.

The chance of the bread falling with the peanut butter and jelly side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.

Inside every large problem is a series of small problems struggling to get out.

Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

No matter how long or hard you shop for an item, after you’ve bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.

Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll underneath to the exact center.

The repairman will never have seen a model quite like yours before.

You will remember you forgot to take the trash out when the garbage truck is two doors away.

Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of an oncoming train,

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

The late psychiatrist Scott Peck tells us that life is difficult. And sometimes it is. Life is a search, a pilgrimage. We make our fair share of mistakes. Sometimes we learn just enough from our mistakes so we can move on.

Life is peace and panic, fear and release, qualms and quiet, resolve and anxiety, calmness and conflict, forgiving and reconciling, tears and compassion, worry and okay-ness, tragedy and wonder, sorrow and cheer, old ways and new discoveries, doubt and death, hope and new beginnings. Life gives us a range of experiences: honest and horrific, humorous and holy.

Life is laughter and sadness, joy and despair, good times and tragedy, faith and fright, a mingling of confidence and assurance, doubt and dread, security and anxiety, serenity and courage. Life is birthday parties and memorial services, bright sun and dark storms. Life is happiness and gladness, awe and humility, jealousy and generosity.

There are moments of accomplishment and achievement. There are flashes of dusky rage and raw terror. There are times of passive-aggressive behavior, low-grade hostility, subliminal resentment, and eruptive anger.

Life is simple and complex. It is now one things and then it’s another. There are good surprises, cheerful moments, deep passion, and great love. There are moments when we are brimming over with joy. There are times of confusion and retreat.

Life has its quiet times and its noisy times. There are harsh, hard times and pleasant, delightful times. We are awkward and anxious, upset and afraid. We discover excellent alternatives and are open to new opportunities. We have questions and we wonder. There are moments of promise and faith. There is confidence.

We move forward and we slide backward. Progress is our friend. Defeat overtakes us. Power and hope undergird us. Defeat and tragedy overwhelm us. Sorrow and grief abide with us. Faith, hope, and love lead us.

We are children. We are adults. We are something in-between. We act graciously and thoughtlessly. We act with consideration and with haste. We gossip too much and are politely silent.

We are careless and neglectful, foolish and irrational. Impulsive and awkward. Generous and giving. Sacred and scarred. Selfish and stingy. Timid and cautious. Brave and bold. We live in fear. We are courageous.

Death haunts us and resurrection is our hope.

God invites us to an abundant life, not a life of survival. God encourages us to the enduring sacrament of compassion, not the frail altar of success.

Life is a search. We are drawn to movements that help us fulfill our deepest yearnings and longings to make a difference. For me, Christianity is that movement.

In a few weeks we’ll be telling the Easter story. The angel comes to the women who came to Jesus’ tomb and says, “He is not here; he is risen…Go tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee” (Matthew 28:5-7). Jesus has gone before us in mission. It is not that we get it together and then go share in the mission. It’s in the sharing of the mission that we grow. It’s in serving people with their human hurts and hopes that we discover the risen Christ.

Where is Christ? Jesus told us that when we feed the hungry, show hospitality to the stranger, clothe the naked, look after the sick and visit the lonely and imprisoned, we do so for him. Christ lives and dies and is risen again and again among the human hurts and hopes of the people God plants all around us. That is where Christ is. That is where God is.

And in the midst of all of life, God cares for our every need. May God’s blessings of growing and developing, grace and peace, hope and new life be ever with us each and every day. Our new, abundant life is ready!

One Reply to “Taking the Next Step”

  1. This was just what I was needing and goes along with what God has been telling me since my pitty party last night over something so small. God said to me in several was through seveal people that he cares and to remember to focus on him not life. Life is depressing but He is good, ausome, and joyful!!! Thanks!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *