Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Bliss of the Animals

For the bliss of the animals lies in this, that, on their lower level, they shadow the bliss of those—few at any moment on the earth—who do not “look before and after, and pine for what is not,” but live in the holy carelessness of the eternal now.”  (Sir Gibbie by George MacDonald)

thebarnyardbigst6Claire and Isaiah just watched the animated version of Charlotte’s Web and it hit me that Wilbur was not one of those “blissful” animals.  Once he learned that he was destined for the dinner table, he lost the will to live.  Neither his comfy mud hole, his well-supplied feeding trough, nor even his barnyard friends could cox him out his misery.  How could he enjoy a good roll in the mud knowing what autumn had in store for him?  Not that I blame him….

I’ve got plenty of less ominous concerns that often keep me from enjoying today:

  • We’ve got a house in VA that no longer feels like home.  No houseplants to die while we’re gone, no scented candles or décor to match the current season, and even the kids’ artwork on the fridge is saying, “I’m so last year!”
  • When asked, “Where will you be?” or “What will you be doing?” I have to just shrug my shoulders instead of pulling out my day-planner like the well-organized person I’d like to be.
  • I can’t shop for bulk-sized groceries items like thrifty Americans should because the cereal will go stale before we get home again to finish it, and there isn’t room in the van to take it with us.
  • I have to run to Wal-mart during the first snowfall with the rest of the unprepared mob to buy boots, hats and mittens instead of finding them months in advance at a thrift store or garage sale.  Who was to know that we’d even be in a place where we’d need winter gear?

This not knowing what or where we’ll be from one day to the next sometimes drives me crazy!  I find myself wanting to argue with God, “How am I supposed to plan what we’re going to eat and drink and wear like a responsible wife and mother when I don’t know where you’re going to send us next?”

Oh wait…something about that sounds familiar.  Didn’t Jesus already say something about that?  Yeah, here it is in Matthew 6:31-34.  “So don’t worry about these things, saying ‘What will we eat?  What will we drink?  What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.

wilburThat’s a pretty straight-forward answer!  The worrying about (and dare I say) the organized planning of my future is NOT MY JOB!  It’s God’s responsibility and when I look back it’s easy to see he has done a right fine job of it too.  I’ve never wanted or lacked that which I truly needed, and I’ve been blessed with a whole lot more besides.

So what is my job?  To “live in the holy carelessness of the eternal now”—seeking God’s Kingdom and living righteously.  Whew!  That gives me a lot of freedom to enjoy today and whatever God puts in my path—the fun and the challenging.  With God’s enabling…this I can do.


jdc said...

I really appreciate that Missy and I feel I needed to read that message - or be reminded of its truth. We are living in uncertain times and pondering those verses brings such Godly peace.


Jon and Missy Damon said...

Thanks glad to know God can use my life lessons to encourage someone else!

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