I always write in the moment — what I’m feeling or experiencing, what fills me with joy or what brings forth tears of sadness. That’s my blog. It’s not about me really. It’s more about what exists before me, behind me, around me, within me . . . in the moment. This morning’s moment is all about sweet memories of being surprised. Completely surprised by the surprise birthday party planned and executed by my wonderful Sunday School class.
Last night was a night to remember for me. It was indeed a surprise —an unexpected, shocking, out-of-the-blue, lavish, wonderfully loving surprise. This morning I am giving thanks for the grace gift of that group of women. And I am enjoying one of the gifts they gave me — a beautiful Lectio Divina prayer bible.
I began my reading this morning at the beginning — Genesis 1: 1-19 — with the intention of reading the passage as if it were my first time. I read it using the pattern of reflective bible reading that included the following steps of Lectio Divina:
- A slow, thoughtful reading of the Biblical text
- Reflection on the meaning of the text
- A decision on what I should do in my life as a result of my contemplative experience
In other words, how does action and contemplation meet for me in this time, in this place?
Gathering all the parts of me into a quiet place, I read the first part of the creation story. I took it in as a story fresh and new, and within seconds I was struck by these words:
When God began to create the heavens and the earth — the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters — God said, “Let there be light.” And so light appeared.
God’s wind swept over the waters . . . I could visualize it. I could hear its sound. I could feel the wind sweeping over me gently, but surely. It was fresh and new, as if I was reading it for the first time. Funny how sacred Scripture can do that “fresh and new” magic!
Today’s life lesson? It’s all about gracious gifts from a loving God . . . Wind and water, sea and sky, light and darkness, and friends of the heart who offer acts of love. Like a birthday party full of meaning beyond the hats and the food and the gifts and the cake.
At the back of the prayer bible, there is a collection of classic Christian prayers. This one — “A Prayer to the Holy Spirit” — is a Native American Traditional prayer that expresses wonderfully the thoughts of my life lesson for today.
O Great Spirit,
whose breath gives life to the world,
and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze:
We need your strength and wisdom.
Cause us to walk in beauty. Give us eyes
ever to behold the red and purple sunset.
Make us wise so that we may understand
what you have taught us.
Help us learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
Make us always ready to come to you
with clean hands and steady eyes,
so when life fades, like the fading sunset,
our spirits may come to you without shame. Amen.
May God — the Mother of all created things, the Father of life itself — make it so.
I am deeply grateful on this day for:
- Quiet moments of reflection
- The story of God’s hand in all created things
- The ability to pray
- The will to point my life toward actions inspired by faith
- The gift of friends of the heart (who throw spectacular, startling, and
completely surprising birthday parties!)
Thanks be to God.
On another note, please pray for me as I await a life-saving kidney transplant. I am grateful that you are walking with me on this journey that often feels so frightening. Your thoughts and prayers mean so much. If you would like to read the story of my illness, please visit the Georgia Transplant Foundation’s website at this link:
A “Go Fund Me” page is set up for contributions to help with the enormous costs related to the transplant, including medications, housing costs for the month we have to stay near the transplant center, and other unforeseeable costs for my care following the transplant. If you can, please be a part of my transplant journey by making a contribution at this link: