Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yelling at the Spoons

Sometimes I just don’t know what to make of this faith business.  Just about the time I think I have God figured out I run into a fork in the road. And I end up screaming into my silverware drawer.

Here's the deal about faith--it brings no guarantees.  That’s kind of why it’s called “faith.”  You have no idea what lies ahead but you step into the future anyway.  Even the next 15 seconds could bring a surprise of some sort.  I could have a heart attack or aneurysm or an airplane could fall out of the sky onto me and I would go to meet my Maker.

Now that’s one thing I feel pretty good about--going to a reunion with my Creator.  I have no indecision over that.  My problem is all the time in between the two halves of life:I'm OK with the beginning and the end.  I came from God and will return to God. It’s all the stuff in between that drives me nuts.

Just who is in charge here?  Sometimes I want to talk to the manager and file a complaint. Which brings me to screaming into my silverware drawer.

Lately, I have been creating little faith reminders to help me throughout the day; tiny landmarks in my life to help me remember to pray for a certain cause or person.  I might sound a little OCD with this but hear me out.

It’s easy to remember my husband whenever I notice the gold band on my left hand.  In addition to my wedding ring I have a second one that I got years ago just because I think it’s pretty.  So a while back I  assigned that ring the job of reminding me of my 2013 resolution to be a more compassionate person.  I’m half-way through my second year now and I couldn’t say I am more compassionate but I am reminded just about every day of my intention to become that person.  Maybe one day it will stick.

I noticed last month my jumbled kitchen drawer filled with mismatched spoons that we’ve acquired over the years.  I think there are at least three different patterns among them—so many different shapes, some bent and some scarred by the disposal.  And I realized that I favor some spoons over the others. Yes, I know I must have a really boring life if I am able to spend time thinking of this stuff.  But I will rummage through the drawer while my cereal waits until I can find my favorite spoon.  I decided one morning I could put this daily event—the selection of a spoon—to better use. So I tasked this function, the spoon search, to a daily prayer for someone I love dearly. And every morning now she gets a prayer for her peacefulness while I eat my cereal.

So when I got distressing news of a frustrating event her life found myself angry at the universe. It was quite unfair, I thought. I went straight to the silverware drawer and screamed at the spoons.  I railed on for quite a while and admonished God and life and what other powers may be-- at the injustice of the world, the unexplainable and hideous injustice in the world. I doubt this really did much to change anything but it did relieve me of a snippet of negative energy. I figure every little bit helps.  And God can handle my anger.

I keep a bowl of acorns in my living room or a similar reason.  They remind me of the walks my daddy took with me the autumn my mother died. He was 53 and I was 14 and we were both too young for what was happening.   He was a war veteran with too many memories to speak of so he didn’t. He held my hand as we walked and we would pass one house in the neighborhood that had a huge bur oak.  The acorns from these trees are huge.  You never forget an acorn from a bur oak.

Years later, when I was a young working mother with a hectic life I would sometimes take a walk at lunch time.  One day I passed an oak that had dropped acorns.  I picked one up and kept it on my desk at work because it reassured and reminded me of another time, the time my daddy held my hand.  It  didn't change anything but it somehow made it more bearable.

 I do believe that God listens to my spoon prayer every morning but I’m not so sure that this changes much.  As my pastor said last Sunday, “God won’t prevent bad stuff from happening but God makes sure it won’t matter.”

So I continue to lift up those I love with spoons and acorns and rings and any other reminder I can attach to a daily event.

God leaves us reminders every day to tell us that God loves us. Sometimes they are acorns.  Or an ocean wave.  Or a sunset.  If we are smart we will pay attention.  And we can also leave reminders of our own that help us remember to pray, to lay down our burdens, to walk hand in hand with our Creator.

You can do this, too.  Pick out an event that happens on a regular basis.  Assign the event or object to help you remember your prayer.  


Off you go.

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