Every so often I take my early morning cup of coffee and step outside. I leave my phone behind so that I can just enjoy the trees and birds and sunrise in the moment instead of taking a photo and captioning it in my mind for later sharing on social media. (It’s a real problem I have, this thinking in captions. I’m working on it…even though perhaps this post is evidence to the contrary.)
Usually these mornings are sweet. I don’t go outside every morning or even every week. But when I do, I am often gifted by sunlight streaming through the trees, or a red bird alighting on my mailbox, or the time to simply stop and notice the beauty of swaying trees, swishing their song whether anyone notices them or not. I’ve had people down the street I don’t know well come outside for whatever reason at 5:45am, to find me standing in front of their house holding my coffee and enjoying the colors of the sunrise because there is a better view from their yard than mine. Sometimes those moments evolve into what can only be described as sacred, as a simple”good morning” from a near stranger, followed by my embarrassed explanation of why I’m standing in their yard, somehow mysteriously turns into the sharing of burdens and the giving of encouragement and hope. A life of faith is so messy. Sometimes I fight doubt, and my faith dips and wavers because the world at large seems incredibly broken, people are mean, and injustice so often has it’s way. But then I go ahead and sort of half-heartedly ask the Lord to use me to share hope with the world…. followed by a chance encounter in the middle of the street at 5:45 in the morning. So. Okay. There’s that. What can I do with that except lift my head, confess my doubts, and keep going forward in faith?
These are good mornings. And God is good.
And sometimes I wake up and walk outside and immediately step into a massive spider web, and nearly throw my back out trying to free myself. Any outside observer on this morning would not be compelled to say good morning or share their burdens with the crazy lady spilling her coffee while fighting an invisible ninja on her porch.
As I clear myself from those sticky strands, I don’t appreciate the fog or the trees or the sunlight. All I feel, frankly, is a growing irritation that I’ve stepped into a web, and oh BY THE WAY the view from my front porch is of a PORTA-POTTY. People. There’s a porta-potty right outside my door and it’s been there a sweet forever. Activity outside my house for the last several months includes dump trucks, concrete trucks, tractors, bulldozers, and construction workers loudly announcing their presence by banging their way in and out of the porta-potty as our neighborhood is growing and 70+ homes are being built next door.
Those spider-web and spilled coffee mornings don’t feel nearly so sacred. But still God is good. I remind myself of it on the red-bird days, the meeting strangers in the street days, so that deep in my heart and soul I remember it’s just as true on the porta-potty days. God is good. And porta-potties aren’t forever.
One response to “Spider webs, porta-potties, and messy faith.”
Porta-Potty View seems like a universally useful analogy. I wonder if you could patent and then sell to preachers all across the land.
I think what you are describing as messy could better be described as real, and that it is part of the equation that allows you to speak positively into others’ lives. Leave all the cobwebs! Don’t change a thing.