Footprints

 

 

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A moose wondered through my yard several times one spring day, but I never saw it. That was when I still lived in Alaska. I must have arrived home just moments after that first evening visit, and just missed the huge long-legged creature’s trek up the driveway, past the garage and alongside my house.

Here in Arizona it’s more about elk than moose, but I actually did see the huge elk that walked through my Arizona yard one day. In one of those “right place, right time” moments I glanced out the window, saw that big animal, and shouted, “Look! Look!  A deer.”  And then my husband reminded me that the deer that used to come into my yard In Alaska and look through my windows, were much smaller than the big animal now in view outside my Arizona window. But at least he was in clear sight.

When visited by that 1,000 pound moose in Alaska, I was unaware of its presence until I finally noticed the big animal tracks alongside my house the next day and was informed at the local village store that a moose had been seen in my yard. And only then did I know where those big footprints had come from. So when I saw a new set of footprints a couple of days later, I knew what had made them.

Nothing else could have made tracks like that!

But even though I looked out the window every day and night for awhile after that in expectation, I never saw that moose — only some tracks now and then. Yet, I of course believe in the existence of moose — and that one had been visiting me from the evidence I continued to see and from the stories others told about their moose experiences.

And so it is with God.

I’ve never seen God either, but I’ve surely seen a lot of evidence of God’s Presence in my life. And I know that God has come near. I’ve heard stories about experiences others have had that have convinced them that God has left His footprints in their lives. And in my own life, the impact of a significant detail or two has been too powerful, and the connections too profound, for mere coincidence.

Nothing else could have made a track like that!

I finally did see a moose one day, standing in my driveway … which delayed the trip I was about to take to the store! But I’m not apt to see God face to face until I leave this life behind. But that doesn’t make me doubt God’s Presence in my present life. The signs are all around, and I can’t help but see them. God’s footprints are all over my life.

Readjusting Our Viewpoint

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If you are driving through life looking through the rear-view mirror, it’s going to prove very difficult to move ahead down the road. Yes, backing up is sometimes necessary … like backing out of the driveway or out of a parking place. But it’s soon time to choose a direction and move forward, which is hard to do if you continue to look behind you.

I don’t know about you … but I can’t always get those mirrors adjusted just right, which isn’t helpful in heavy traffic. But mirror adjustment is not a matter of one size fits all and must be readjusted for each driver.

Perhaps it’s like that in our journey through life. Maybe it’s about adjusting our viewpoint so we can cautiously glance behind to avoid predictable mishaps, but without distracting ourselves from the wider view of the road ahead and an ever clearer vision of what God has called us to be and to do.

He Is Already There

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We come to an understanding about the nature of God in different ways. Some see the Divine more as someone or something to be feared and obeyed, while others as more of a Loving Presence through whom we might experience mercy. Still others aren’t sure and may seek understanding in many different places and examples.

This is a story about God’s nature as seen through Jesus:

A long time ago, a woman of Samaria came to the village well to draw water. She had a bad reputation and the other women shunned her. They came in the cool of the day, and she came in the heat of noon. But this time, even before she arrived, Jesus was already there.

He didn’t shun her. He asked her for a drink of water, even though Jews (like him) didn’t associate with Samaritans. He talked to her in public, even though men didn’t do that back then in his culture. And the righteous people, who played by the rules, were shocked!

But Jesus loved her just because she was a precious human being.

He didn’t condone her lifestyle, but he didn’t condemn her either. And he didn’t wait until she was a better person. He told her right then and there that he knew who she was, rough spots and all. And he offered her living water that would well up in her and quench her thirsty spirit. And his love changed her life.

So if you are searching for that living water, bring with you your doubts and your fears and your reservations. Because you will find that even before you arrive at the well, God is already there.

What It’s Really About

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I smiled. I was respectful and polite. I even took the classes and became a certified Nursing Assistant. The nursing home was run by a plump scary RN who had hired me because I had a nice smile. But behind the smile I was young and insecure, and stressed by the schedule that demanded waking, dressing, and getting up into chairs what were too many people in too little time … and all before breakfast.

I knew all the details of the care I must give — the stuff to be done, of which all was not pleasant. I knew how to make a bed just right, even with a person in it, and how to do something called mitering the sheets — a special folding back of the ends that kept them snugly under the mattress. I still do this today with my own sheets.

Yes, some time ago, in what now seems like another life — I worked as a care giver in a nursing home.

I still know the proper way to help a bed-ridden person into a sitting position or a wheelchair. But I know something just as important that I didn’t understand then. It’s about more than doing the right things in the right way. It’s about more than being nice. It’s even about more than caring.

As a care giver or as a visitor who wants to do and say the right things — the most important thing you can bring to a visit with a resident, a loved one, or even a casual acquaintance in a nursing home or other kind of care center … is yourself … your authentic self. And when that happens … and you feel it … I call it a God Thing.

Now much older and finally more self-confident, I pull into the parking lot of the local care facility and walk the few steps to the door. I know how to push the metal box that lets visitors in while keeping the residents safe within. I sign my name, time, and write the name of whom I plan to visit. I put on the Visitor tag. I know the routine … the stuff to be done. But it’s still about more than doing the right things in the right way.

This day I have come with a bit of trepidation, not knowing exactly what I might say or do, and praying that I will know how to communicate. I know that it is about more than a planned Scripture verse or a pre-rehearsed prayer. And I know that it’s about more than my own fears or discomfort. It’s about being able to put that all aside and trusting the Holy Spirit for the words. And that is my prayer.

I am approaching the room … or maybe the wheelchair in the hallway … and I am suddenly relaxed, and a peace has come upon me. This is not just a person in a bed or a wheelchair, one happy to chat or unable to. This is not only a person whose mind may be far away or sharp as a tack, good humored or in pain both physical or emotional, seemingly unresponsive or welcoming. This is a child of God, like me, and in this we are truly who we are. This is what it’s really about.

I feel the Presence of God. I feel God working through me.  And I feel Joy.