06 December 2011

Compared to what?

Remember as kids making claims such as, "our car is so old" or "these clothes are completely out of style," or "we never get to do anything fun?"

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with a former school mate--actually a classmate of one of my sisters--who contacted me because of her experience with a car crash several years ago. She lives within 15 minutes of me and we are facebook friends. Perhaps with any significant experience, it helps to associate with those who have similar encounters. The conversation flows with more mutual understanding and includes fewer lengthy explanations. Yet there are intuitive moments of deep connection. Freedom flows from such connections. What a healing, grace filled gift!

Two things especially resonated with me today. As she recalled her own accident, she said, "we see God in all the small things. He is in the small things. Of course he is in big things, too, but how many of those do we really have in our lives?" It is the multiplied consistency of ordinary, small and faithful moves that continue to build our trust in this powerful, ever present God. I needed that reminder.

Secondly, she reminded me of some of her own coping patterns for fears and fragile moments. For me, right now, driving in the rain provokes vulnerable and frenetic fears absolutely unfamiliar to me, almost to the point of complete panic. I know this will lessen and subside. Her experience led her to recount scriptures and phrases of such certainty that she offered them as an offering and declaration in her desperate moments. My methods pale in scope and depth. But her challenge and encouragement ring in my spirit.

In my memory of these childhood complaints, an offered response was sometimes, "as compared to what?" That is part of what I heard today, too. Things may not seem that great. Things may seem bleak. Fingers of despair creep into view.

But perspective and comparison shape new constructs and remind me to be thankful in even the smallest things. Compared to oodles of people, my life overflows with rich and abundant blessings. I expect moments of fear and discouragement, despite the acknowledgment of blessing. But I know God will grant the grace to move beyond fear and return to thanksgiving and trust.

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