Every Tuesday, I spend a couple of hours at our local hospital as a volunteer chaplain. I knock on doors, say hi, and listen to whatever folks have to say. If I'm asked, I'll pray. Mostly it's about letting the patients know that somebody cares about their spirit, in the midst of their physical suffering.
So a couple of weeks ago, I knocked on a door, and I met a lady I'll call Gloria.
Gloria has just been diagnosed with a very serious illness and she's facing a challenging course of treatment. But as she talked, I experienced an incredibly rare peace about her.
She talked a long time about her family, her community, and how God's been at work in her life through the years. It was one of those "I know my Redeemer lives" kind of conversations. She's not in denial. She's totally honest about what's ahead.
But this peace! It's the real deal. Powerful. Bone deep.
I kept thinking, "This is how I want to be, when I'm in my 70's and facing what she's facing."
Toward the end of our time together, we prayed for each other. And afterward, she said, "I think God wants you to know something. Is it OK for me to say this?" And I agreed.
So she said to me, "The thing that you're longing for, the thing you've been asking God for, the thing you're waiting for? It's happening right now. You need to live in it."
That's exactly what I've been hearing throughout this Summer of 7.
Stop waiting for something in the future.
Stop thinking that if I have x, y, z--THEN.
Instead, look at all the abundance and the blessing of right now.
I say I want to be like Gloria someday in the future.
But what about now?
I'm like somebody who says she wants to run a marathon, but sits on the couch eating Twinkies.
I can't wait for some distant day to suddenly be full of peace.
I've got to take the baby steps right now.
Let God be God.
Be generous and willing to share.
Share the stuff--but beyond that, share time. Share attention. Share love.
There is more than enough for all of us.
More than we could ever dare to ask or think.
So, thank you all for journeying through the Summer of 7 with me. There were times when it was kind of itchy and uncomfortable and I didn't like it much. But at the end of the whole thing--it's like I have more space to breathe. And it feels good.
I hope it's been as refreshing and worthwhile for you as it has been for me. I'd love to hear your feedback!