Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Re-joice Part 2

Rejoice sounds like to re-joining in the joy around us and within us.
Rejoice tastes like letting an ice cream dripping slowly down the back of your hand.
Rejoice looks like the wink from your wife across the table.
Rejoice feels like holding hands with someone or a hug from a friend.
Rejoice smells like bread baking in the oven.

Rejoicing engages our whole selves.

Yet, I think the blurry pace of modern day life blocks us from these small experiences bring us much joy.  Instead of listening/hearing the joy, we let Tweets take over.  Instead of tasting, really tasting each bite, we shovel the food in our mouths before racing off to our next commitment, which we are already late for.  Instead of seeing, really seeing the person in front us, we glance around or check our phone to see who just texted us.  Instead of feeling, we become numb...instead of smelling we don't even notice the roses.

Our ancestors would probably shake their heads at the pace of life today.  Around about the time I was born, the average American took about 20 days off from work a day.  I think about those old black and white photos of vacations in the family car ~ where people headed out west.  About the time I began my career in 2001, was a steady decline in vacations with the average American taking about 14 days off.  Last year there was an increase for the first time in almost eighteen years with Americans taking 16.8 days off.  Yet, 662 million vacation days were left on the table last year. 

On top of this...even when we are away...we are not away.  I check email on my day off.  I respond to texts.  I do this because I somehow believe that it would be rude to not respond.  I see this in my kids who physically look tense if they don't right away reach for the phone when it blinks or beeps.  I don't know if this tide can be turned.  Yet, I also know that doing nothing is essentially leading us down the same rut.

And I don't think it is something we can think ourselves into a new way of living...nor does it mean you have to drop off the grid for months on end.  What if, for one afternoon, you put the phone away and went for a walk.  Start slow.  One hour is great.  Guess can respond to the text when you get back.  And try not to apologize.  Help your friends learn that you are seeking to practice the prayerful art of being present to more than just your Apple device.  It's okay if you don't immediate text, tweet, and tell the world what you are doing.

This is one of those posts where I am preaching to myself.  I need to practice the prayerful art of being unnecessary and unneeded for awhile.  Yes...the world will go on without me.  Yes...that might tarnish my superhero status...but so does the fact that I can't leap over even a small building or save someone.  I can be present.  And sometimes pay attention to something besides a screen holds blessings beyond description.  I pray this week these words might sing to your heart and stir your soul.  And may stepping away offer you a chance to see, taste, smell, and feel more than a trace of God's grace.  And more over, may that moment give you exceeding joy.

Blessings ~~

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