Years ago, we had a backyard of bare ground and weeds. We desired a lawn where grandchildren could run and play. It was a project. We added soil, planted grass seed, and watered. With God’s generous sun and rain, the grass eventually grew. Yet, it did not grow everywhere. In several areas, the ground remained bare; adding more soil and seed did not help. It was puzzling. It was time to revise our yard plan.
At this time, we are often using the words: remote, virtual, and distant to describe our experience. We have become more aware of the space around us, and perhaps the longing for closeness within us. The Lord knows our deepest selves, and if we remain open to Him, He comes to us exactly where we are. In our prayer, we can ask for openness to the One who is always close to us.
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There is a bay-front park not far from here with a shoreline path that gives joy to walkers and bicyclists. The path provides a panoramic view of green hills across the bay, a distant city skyline, and rolling fields and woodlands on the inland side. When I walk there, I always come away refreshed and restored. It is also a delightful place to fly a kite.
In the best of times, children can find school and learning challenging. These times of ours are not easy, and the challenges of remote learning, anxiety over the pandemic, and society’s urgent calls for social justice are presenting even more challenges. Maybe we long for the days when remembering to do homework was our biggest concern.
At family gatherings over the years, it’s fun to listen and enjoy the sounds of the conversations, the good-natured banter, the younger children’s voices, the older conversations, the commotion of children and dogs playing. Laughter and boisterous chatter create a chorus that fills and overflows the space. It is marvelous. Energy and excitement prevail. Food and beverage enliven the table. It is a meditation on noise – a prayer of “joyful noise.” It is God’s Spirit that brings us together.