Wednesday, September 24, 2014
By Micky Wolf
My beloved and I recently returned from a week’s vacation.
The coast of Maine.
There’s something about the ocean that takes away my breath.
Maybe it is because it is so big.
Maybe it is because the horizon seems to go on forever.
Maybe it is the scent and taste of the salty sea spray on the lips.
Maybe it is the never-ending pulse and rhythm of crystal blue-green crispy cool waves crashing onto the cream-colored sand.
Maybe it is the wispy pieces of early morning fog lingering over the masts of nearby sailboats.
Maybe it is the forlorn call of one gull to another.
Maybe it is the sparkling facets of ever moving droplets dancing in the brilliance of a fiery gold sunrise.
Maybe it is simply…an opportunity to be in the presence of God and His magnificent creation.
No need to know the why, what, where, when or how. Only the Who really seems to matter. And that will always be true, at the ocean or anywhere else. Maybe that is what we need to be alive to within our hearts, where ever we go, where ever we are.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
By Micky Wolf
The day was sultry, the sun bright and intense. I wasn’t rushing about, but intentionally working my way through a small to do list.
Approaching the main entrance to the church, the slow-moving figure of a woman emerged from the building. Leaning on her walker, it was clear she had long ago learned how to use her wheeled helper with grace and precision to open doors, without being hindered in the process.
Yes, I’m one of those folks who will usually offer a greeting or a smile to passers-by or while waiting in line, whether I know them or not.
However, almost before I could open my mouth she glanced in my direction, moving closer to the handicap accessible ramp section of the cement curb.
“Morning,” she said, a big smile crossing her face.
“Good morning to you!” I responded. “Sure is a hot one today, eh?”
“Oh my, yes, for sure.” She had some of the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen, laugh lines squiggled at the corners. Neatly styled short, straight, white wisps of hair framed her face.
“Some people love this weather.” By now both of us had paused, a couple of feet apart. “Me, I prefer the seventies and low humidity.”
“Amen! Me too!”
Her smile broadened, if that was possible. An angel in disguise? Surely someone’s wife, mother, or grandmother. Maybe a sister or an aunt. It didn’t matter. In the midst of her focused effort to keep moving with a body that gave silent witness to the wear and tear of the years, she seemed oblivious to anything—but me.
“You have a wonderful day,” I said, oddly reluctant to move.
“And you too!”
Passing through the doors into the church I turned for another glance. She was gone. Vanished.
Not sure why this encounter has left a lasting impression. I can still see her face, her smile, the lovely white hair, the walker.
What I do know is there is no need for an explanation or answer.
What I do know is God often chooses to manifest His presence in the most unlikely ways, at the most unexpected times.
And that, fellow sojourner, is the way He would have it to be, for each of us, every day.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
By Micky Wolf
In recent days, found myself part of a small group of Christian women talking about the joy (and suffering) we experience as we allow God to work through each of us. All well and good—until the Divine decided it was the perfect opportunity for Him to get my attention.
The issue at hand? In sharing about my personal journey it became crystal clear, in an instant, that I can get too distracted with “the need to be understood”. (This ‘need’ has nothing to do with wanting to be right or needing everyone in the room to be in lock-step agreement, entirely different topics.)
A time and place…
As a writer, I’m only too aware of the importance of stringing words and sentences together in a way that doesn’t leave the reader confused or struggling to understand the point.
However, communicating with that kind of clarity is not the same as the person needing to be affirmed, in some way, that the reader or hearer fully comprehends the idea or concept being set forth.
For example: when I communicated to my toddlers, “do not run out into the street after the ball”, they had yet to fully comprehend moving vehicles and little children are not a healthy combination. The exhortation was clear, yet it would be sometime before they actually understood why this was a nonnegotiable rule.
The same is true when it comes to our Christian walk. You and I understand and comprehend God’s Truth and Love differently today than we did yesterday. That is very good thing—we are truly works in progress. So then, why do we put undue pressure on ourselves (or others)—or worse yet, develop expectations of any description—about how quickly or how thoroughly each of us is becoming more Christ-like? God’s time, place, and the way in which He chooses to knock on the door of our hearts is something known only by Him. Period.
To comprehend is…
…to grasp the nature, the significance or meaning of (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Communicating clearly and authentically means making a commitment to being honest and vulnerable with thoughts, emotions, and actions. As Christians, when we choose to live and behave in this manner, we are to trust the process of comprehending to something that occurs within each of us, through the presence of God and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to ‘grasping the nature, the significance or meaning of’ an event, a circumstance or an idea. Or, for that matter, another person’s perspective in any given situation. In fact, it is the unique perspective each of us bring to community which may be used of God to reveal a deeper Truth or insight. Ergo, the previously described encounter with the other women.
Being so focused on the need to be understood—which on some level involves having evidence to indicate that has occurred—takes our eyes off Jesus and places them on the flesh, the human need to know, to have assurance, to be certain.
If we insist on being understood as a prerequisite or requirement by which to measure the quality or fullness of our relationship with others, we risk stepping into a form of God-playing. Why? We need look no further than the earliest moments of inspired Scripture.
The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The LORD God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die. (Genesis 2:15-17)
In other words, “do not run out into the street after the apple”.