I don’t know about you but as for me, closing my eyes to pray or meditate isn’t an option. I feel trapped in a dark place and start scrounging around for light of my own creation or imagining. And that is sure to distract me from my intentions.
I need a visual focus, something for my eyes to “see” while I let my mind settle. Settle on whatever is to come. So that I may welcome and receive it.
Recently, I’ve begun using the minute timer, extracted from a long ago game — possibly Pictionary — where turn-taking was measured in minutes. And before I begin my days’ adventures, I let the sand run. For one solid minute I’m motionless and focused on the grains of sand, seeping through the narrows, slowly, deliberately, orderly and completely.
“My blood shed for thee.” Do I actually hear the voice that speaks that?
“Poured out for your sins.” Where did that thought come from?
Sifted, sliding, shimmering in the ambient light. A sparkle, immediately quenched with its progress. Downward. Toward its finish. Emptying. Emptying. A hollow forms as its pace quickens, hurrying to its completion.
I am neither sad nor distressed as I watch these events unfold. The work of this sand is not remarkable, simply reasonable, inevitable. The consequence of gravity pulling it toward its destination, gathering it together into its lower realm. Poured out. Completely.
“I have emptied myself completely that you might be filled fully.”
“Whatever you do, do it in my name and for my name’s sake.”
Into my day I go, full of the grace and truth that this one minute holds. One day’s worth, bolstered by the assurance of these grains of sand, slipping one by one, of which I am one. Assured by these drops of blood, one by one, by which I’m saved.
Tomorrow I will turn it over and begin again.
Why spend so much time and energy on something so temporary?
This was my thought as I strolled the beach past dozens of children who were completely satisfied to construct castles, sand piles, and forts. To write their names, dig out trenches, and fill moats only to have them washed away in an instant. Yet, as soon as the wave receded they began again. So why? …Why invest so much in something so temporary?
And I could ask of God the same…Why invest so much in us, something so temporary?
I look around at the incredible diversity in people. Shapes, sizes, colors, ages, races. And the Lord only knows how different they are on the insides. literally. No time – saving repeats there. And yet, we are but a whisper in the all of time. A moment and then washed away by the waves. Why invest so much in us?
I can’t even begin to know the mind of the Creator in this. But what is promised is that we are created in his image. Perhaps in the image of one who is always creating, constantly crafting, shaping and re-shaping. Perhaps as those children who seem perfectly content to begin again. The last masterpiece not lost, the components are all still there in front of them, waiting to take a new shape in their hands.
My difficulty I think is that I want to hold on. I want something that will last. Just as I want to “capture” the sunrise in a photo so I can share it with others and keep it forever. Children revel in the making. They love the motion of making, the texture of the raw materials. They are not invested in the product, just in the doing. They might look up if I pointed out the sunrise but then return to the business of busy.
Funny how busy has gotten such a bad rap among us adults. Perhaps if we were satisfied with the temporary, if we could find peace in the notion that whatever we “accomplished” was meant as raw material for the permanent ahead, we might even see our lives as absolutely worth the painstaking detail. Even in the face of a world which relentlessly asks, “What do you have to show for yourself?”
Perhaps ours is to discover our image in the Creator’s constancy, in the midst of our divine design under continuous assault by the waves of life. And He is as the child, patiently re-crafting. After all, even the wind and the waves obey Him. The work must be worth it to Him.