Somewhere I read the secret to a long life is to keep waking up every morning. Well, I’m still here and grateful for every day. But, I seldom leap out of bed. This stage in life lets me linger longer some days. I awake relieved. Night didn’t overstay and today arrived with promise and enough responsibility to remind me I’m not irrelevant, should I lean in that direction. However, I am leaning. Sometimes Kristina, my daughter-in-love, gently massages my bent neck, then encourages me to put back my shoulders, stand tall. Lily told me it’s about my core. Well, I love New England but parts of me seem to be heading south. It’s an uncivil war in my body. I could get specific but choose to bite my tongue. As Garrison Keillor wrote, “I come from a people with badly scarred tongues.”
Well, today I lunched with two friends from Christ Church at a Gloucester restaurant. Near the end of the meal, someone, who’d been eyeing us from afar, walked over and asked, “Excuse me, but are you Jan Carlberg?” I confessed, “Yes, I am.” Turns out she knew me from Grace Chapel, our church home for many years. Frankly, it did my heart good to be remembered, to be seen by someone who knew me way back when. And recognized me!
Oddly enough, she interrupted a conversation about Nathanael, a Bible story found in John 1:45-50. Philip, new disciple, goes to find Nathanael, to tell him they found Jesus, the one Moses and the prophets wrote about. Nathanael’s puzzled that anything good could come out of Nazareth. But Philip says, “Just come and see for yourself.”(v.46b,NLT) When Jesus calls him “an honest man”, Nathanael wonders how Jesus knows that. “Then Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”(The Message)
Well, that’s startling! Sometimes we think God watches to catch us doing something wrong. Imagine God observing us, like a proud Papa. Sometimes I need reminders God sees and cares about us, this world. Daily, we’re bombarded with terrifying images and statistics. Does God see us under our fig trees? Maybe we feel like nothing changes , our prayers ricochet off the ceilings, but take heart, we’re seen and heard. While it’s not always how I feel, this is what I believe.
“You saw me before I was born…How precious are your thoughts about me, O God…And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!” (from Psalm 139, NLT)
Good news for this new morning.
God’s still here.
And we’re still here, even if parts of us keep heading south.
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