My column from the Macon Telegraph, Aug. 7 2011: http://www.macon.com/2011/08/06/1656130/renewing-our-faith-every-day.html
[This is under what I submitted as the original title. You’ll notice from the link they changed it to a more bland title for publication]
Recently, I was walking through the grocery store minding my own business and doing a little shopping. I turned to go down an aisle at Kroger when I encountered an energetic young boy running up and down the aisle, getting all worked up about the plethora of goodies on this particular aisle. For him it was like entering a magical world where all of his candy-coated wishes were right at his fingertips. He couldn’t contain his excitement any longer and was led to run and dance for joy.
I am a married man in my late 20s with no children. So you can imagine my gut reaction when I encountered this joyous scene, already in progress.
I looked at the boy as he ran by and I looked back at his father, who was weary from chasing him around. I chuckled and made some offhanded joke about the wonder of a child’s energy and how they should bottle and sell it.
He laughed and then he made a very profound statement.
“At least he’s healthy and happy enough to run all over the place. I try to thank God even for the crazy days like today.”
Wow! I left that aisle a different person than I had entered it. You see, we can get so consumed with life that our faith becomes an afterthought. Who has time to search for those grand moments of faith, high atop mountains where serenity and inspiration meet to refresh and make us new people? That sort of stuff isn’t meant for “real people.”
But what if faith was not as tricky as we sometimes make it out to be? What if we didn’t have to go to such extremes to search out and find opportunities to experience our faith? What if all we needed were the eyes to see those opportunities fall into our lap on a daily basis?
Everyday life can be full of a surplus of encounters with God. Faith isn’t meant to be something we compartmentalize into our “spiritual life.” Instead, it is the lens we use to see the everyday and even mundane routines of life. It’s what helps us notice the beauty of a summer morning, in spite of the stress of “yet another Monday morning.” It’s what puts into perspective the importance of friends and family even when these same people are the source of much of the tension in our lives. It’s what helps us laugh and be thankful for the odd ways children find joy in life — even if that joy is expressed in the middle of Kroger for the whole world to see.
Faith is most often the hidden moments of everyday life, when the mundane meets the sacred, that we discover a God who can’t wait to reach out and be with us. It’s when we’re able to slip up and see these moments amid the clutter of our lives, in all of their eccentric beauty, that we can be overcome with the joy of the presence of God.
I hope you find joy this next week beyond your wildest imagination. And if you do, you have my permission to run and dance around Kroger for the whole world to see.