WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE SIGNS?
I had originally intended to use this photo for a reflection on negativity and pessimism, using Looks Like Rain as a humorous post about leaping to the worst conclusions. Instead of appreciating the blue sky on a lovely day, we could focus on the only cloud and worry about rain. But then I recalled a few times in my life when I discounted some seemingly insignificant signs that ended up being really important (such as minor health issues that indicated my eventual cancer diagnosis).
What might be the best way for us to consider the incidents that capture our attention – the things we notice and then wonder if they are signs of something more to come? Whether these signs might be related to our weather, health, vocation, or other discernments, how might we regard them with the wisdom of Jesus’ instruction, “Do not worry about tomorrow”?
Perhaps these incidents can best serve as “You are here” signs. You may have seen these indicators on maps of hiking trails or layouts of buildings; they show us where we are in relation to our larger surroundings. When something catches our attention, we might consider it an invitation to note where we are, to assess how we are feeling about being where we are, and to open ourselves for greater awareness about where we might go or what we might do from this point. The things we initially notice may not give us direction, nor necessarily foretell a certain future, but they can invite us to pause and be fully present to what is.
In the wisdom of Christ, we can learn to regard these incidents without optimism or pessimism, but to say, “Here I am, God!” This will help to keep us from fearing or worrying about tomorrow – but also from ignoring or discounting what may be important – as we remain attentive for more information to come. Our prayer could be, “If I am called to do something more with what I have noticed, please show me and guide me.”
As we walk along in the joy of a beautiful day, we can see a cloud and run for shelter or grab an umbrella. We can also ignore every cloud and eventually find ourselves in a storm. Or we can be present to the moment, grateful for the day, watchful for the future, and aware of God’s presence with us through it all.
(Photo by Karen)
“Do not worry about tomorrow” is from Matthew 6:34 (NRSVUE)