Day 17 – Struggle

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The novelty has warn off. The the 30 day challenge has turned challenging.

The search for new things is work. Some days are routine, some events average, and some feelings not worth reporting. Can’t I let this flower be a flower and not a gateway to enlightenment?

What’s more, the act of writing can create, even fabricate, a structure to the experience. Just knowing I will write about my day, changes the way I act or think. I look more intently. I stretch to find new angles. I sift every moment for a nugget of grace worth sharing. But what if I turn up nothing but dirt?

Christianity has this idea called sacrament. Basically, ordinary things like dirt or flowers are both themselves and ways to experience something deeper, truer, or more beautiful and profound. There’s a trick though. The beauty is hidden within the ordinariness, like a secret whisper you have to lean closely to hear. For those who are willing and open, you may encounter something real in the flower, which can change you in lasting, imperceptible ways.

Several years ago I hiked across the Pyrenees mountains. The first day was magical. I saw wild horses roaming the ridge, I stared down plunging views to valleys below, and I was awed by endless sky full of massive clouds. But what changed me was a clump of grass. I was sitting on my backpack taking a break, when out of the corner of my eye a tiny patch of earth seemed to radiate light. I leaned closer to see a single drop of dew nested in the center reflecting the sun, like a hidden diadem. I was captured by this tiny bead of fire just waiting to be discovered.

For me, that drop of water was a sacrament. Of course, not every moment of the trip was as weighty or momentous. But I did start looking differently in order to see more.

I suppose that is what I’m doing on this 30 day challenge, trying to see more, letting different experiences throw me off kilter so I can catch sight of the beauty hidden in the dirt. Not every moment deserves a blog post. But every moment is worthy of the disciplined work it takes to see, to reflect, and to be open to what might be God hidden in plain sight.