I have recently been led to a quiet yet powerful blog by Gannet Girl. It's a new blog of her creation for this Advent season. She posts something gently amazing each day. Today was a reflective list of the usual holiday tasks and items, but it is by no means an ordinary list. Nor is it an ordinary blog. I plan on visiting each day as it speaks to me in this season of being still and quiet. It's content is contemplative yet stimulating. And that is the key to our comprehending its purpose. You don't just read it, you inwardly digest it for its nourishing properties. So, gentle readers, I encourage you to stop by and understand what it is to be Praying Advent Through Darkness.
Have you noticed the appearance of the moon, Jupiter and Venus these last several nights? Blazing away in the cold midnight of space, and yet so wondrous. I am glad that God gives us little gifts like planets and moons. And the stars, and planets, those gas giants and terrestrial, simply marvelous and mysterious. There is so much we don't know about those things that lie beyond our little, blue planet. Why, there is so much we don't know about the very rock we live on, that it overwhelms the best and brightest minds, and yet even the ordinary person can see things the scientists cannot see because they sometimes look too hard. Have you ever glanced at something and saw the very thing you were looking for earlier but you couldn't see it because you were trying to hard to find it?
That is how the spiritual life can occasionally, no, who am I kidding? We are constantly missing the obvious in our spiritual lives because we are trying too hard to be spiritual. We attend classes, workshops, sessions; we read and read about how to be a spiritual person, how to discern God's will and intention. We listen to lectures and have discussions, and more often than not, arguments or debates over perceptions and authority. Some thing you must follow a teacher to become enlightened or aware of one's spirituality by their example. Basically, we try way too hard when we really don't have to.
I'm not saying the spiritual journey is an easy, kickback and cruise sort of journey. And I am not saying that it isn't either. It can be both simple and exhausting. Simple in that what we are seeking is right before us, and no, its not the Bible or Scripture. It is the knowledge that God is all around us. We don't have to circle the globe to find God. God is in the ant crawling across my toe, or the flowers that bloom, the birds that fly, or the transient man or woman walking up the street toward us. It is also the elderly person in the hospital, alone. It is the friend you just had an argument with, or the dog trotting across a parking lot, lost. Can God be lost or alone? Yes, because we don't look in the obvious places, and because we turn, leaving God standing there as we walk away.
We anticipate the coming of God in the form of a child each year as we remember how God came to us, and lived among us, and eventually dying a human death. All those years and the Israelites didn't know or understand that God was with them all along. Imagine the imaginary in that God finally had to send himself as Jesus to us, in flesh and blood, so that hopefully we could understand . And yet this imaginary scenario became real.
We find God in every kindness shown to us daily by others, and by the natural world. For me this is why God made dogs. And yes, I will look for any excuse to extoll the virtues of all dogs.
Now back to my point.... And by doing so, He showed us in the simplest way possible what unconditional love and trust is. as well as faithfulness. He had to create an animal to show us the simple qualities of love and trust. I'm ok with that. Here is a primo examle:
On the news tonight there was video footage of a busy freeway and a dog being hit by a car and seriously injured to the point that it lay in the street.
The dog's companion--another dog--without thought for himself--literally dashed out onto the freeway to reach his injured companion. The second dog looked to each side and behind itself and then grabbed the scruff of the injured animal and dragged it to safety back across the lane of traffic to later be helped by passersby. To say that dogs don't have courage or bravery, is to be completely wrong. To say that they don't know what trust and faithfulness is, is contrary to what we know in our own experience and that witnessed by others. Now if only we could learn to rescue each other this way, with the same faithfulness, love and trust, then that is where God can be found.
This Advent we look for God in a child. Let's look for him there, but let's also look for him in each of us, for we are also children in which God can be found if we let him in. Let us look for God with the same wonder as we gaze at the moon, Jupiter and Venus, and all the starry host.
Oh, and pet your dog too.