Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just This, Just Now

--
Green grass, fresh, dewy, tender, brand new green grass grows outside the window--the kind my horse would have gone crazy for.

A backdrop for Christmas?


Groan . . . I would so prefer a deep, powdery, soft-as-eider-down, foot-thick blanket of snow outside my window. I long for the kind of snow that comes floating down like big lazy feathers, silently, with no trace of wind. The kind of snow that makes quiet voices sound sweetly amplified . . . the kind that makes the air feel warmer, softer than you think it should . . . the kind you simply must go for a walk in, especially after dark, when it really isn't dark at all because the snow makes everything glow. Yes, that is what I would prefer.


But, it's awfully green outside my California window.

I've been in California a long time now--longer than both my snow-blessed homes combined. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but still it's hard for me. There is a gap between what I would prefer and what I get.

Every year, once or twice we get a little snow on Mt. Diablo that usually lasts just until the sun gets high in the sky, and then it's gone--I look forward to it more than you can imagine. This year, to everyone's great surprise, the snow level dropped way down low, and it stayed on the mountain for several days. At first, all I could think about was how unfair it was that so many of my friends had snow right in their yards, and I felt like I was the only one whose house got no snow. Didn't God know how much I NEEDED some snow? Didn't He care that I felt left out, when I was the one who "deserved" it most? Can you hear me stamping my feet and see my lips poked out in a pout? I almost cheated myself out of enjoying the beauty of the white hills all around the valley, the beauty that lingered for days instead of hours, because I was stuck on not getting the snow the way I wanted it, stuck on the fact that time and circumstances didn't allow for me to go somewhere to play in it. Foolish girl!!


Fortunately I only ALMOST cheated myself.
Just in time, I got a hold of myself and did what I usually do, I did the thing that has allowed me to walk around in this California world, still so foreign to me, for more than 25 years without going crazy. When the green grass at Christmas is getting on my last nerve, I force myself, sometimes with clenched teeth, to look for the beauty in it.


This is a scene I wouldn't find in either of my other homes where I so loved the snow. I would never see the contrast of the bright-white snow and the ultra-green of the new grass springing out of rain-soaked hills. This is a beauty unique to this place, this moment in time, this gift from God. I could have missed it in longing for other places, other gifts and other blessings, living in the used-to-be's or the not-yet's.
INSTEAD I choose to notice, appreciate, savor, and thank God for this, just this, just now.

This is a choice I have to make, but it doesn't always come easy--just ask my teeth. At the moment, my family is and has for several years, been weathering a season where there are some real gaps between what we would prefer and what we are currently getting. It can be hard to feel contentment in the turmoil of real emotions, especially at Christmas when we have so many wishes and hopes and dreams of how we would like things to be for the people we love.


In the flurry of emotions, I can feel sorry for myself and my family. I can feel deprived, ignored, left out and disgruntled, OR I can choose to look, with clenched teeth if I have to, for the real, honest-to-goodness beauty in it all. I have to look around at
this time, this place, these gifts from God with an eye for what is special about them. Nothing else will ever be exactly like this time, and I could cheat myself out of what is uniquely beautiful about it by wishing it away, or longing for other places, other gifts and other blessings, living in the used-to-be's or the not-yet's. INSTEAD, I choose to notice Jesus and the beauty of Him in the moments of this day, just this, just now.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV

Do you ever get stuck wishing for used-to-be's or not-yet's? How do you stay content when there are gaps between what you prefer and what you get?

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