Thursday, February 17, 2011

Extraordinary God in the most Ordinary Place

I saw God yesterday, in the most ordinary place.  As I reclined in a chair, underneath a bright light, my mouth agape, I saw God yesterday at the dentist office. 

The conversation started with the nominal, surface question, "How are you today?" I replied with the obligatory, "Good, and you?". 

The dental technician was preparing the room for my examination.  Then she said, "I have to go to a funeral this weekend, and I'm not looking forward to it."  She continued to share in a real, vulnerable way that she disliked death. There was something about death that annoyed her, particularly those who were overemotional.  In her eyes, she felt like the people were in a better place, so why was everyone so sad?  I nodded, understanding her thoughts towards death. 

I could sense the Holy Spirit telling me to "listen--don't say much--just listen."  So I just listened, nodding an affirmation here and there, and maybe sharing some words of encouragement. Mostly I just listened.  She transistioned, as to perhaps leave the umcomfortable subject of death, to the relationship with her mother.  (At that point, warning bells began to sound in my ears and red lights flashed in my eyes, I knew God was doing something here)  She had not spoken to her mother for 2.5 years. And next week, her mother was coming to visit.

Reflections of the relationship with my mother over the past fifteen years began surfacing, and as I listened to this dear woman share her heart about her mother, the struggles they have had, and continue to have,  I could heard God gently, so full of Grace, and mercifully reminding me of a promise I had made to Him, and others.  In a matter of minutes, the woman and I had so much in common as we came to a point of similar reference in the middle of a dentist examination room--a most ordinary thing.  In those moments, we received something powerful and Holy--understanding and comfort, reassurance that we are not alone in our pain and loneliness. 

She was afraid of the visit with her mother;  I have been afraid to simply talk to my mother on the phone.
She was worried about her husband; as I have worried about my husband's opinion of my own mother.
She was concerned about her kids feelings; as I have also witnessed my kid's hearts harden, simply disenchanted by a grandmother they hardly know. 

So much she said resounded in my soul.  I could still sense the Holy Spirit asking me to simply listen--not share, as I and most people of God would be inclined to do, right?  (Perhaps my story could help her in this!).  I just listened and told her that I knew where she was, that I also struggled with my own relationship with my Mother and that I would pray for her.

The examination continued as the Dr. came into fill my cavity--and I watched, with my mouth agape, the sound of drilling and tools probing my mouth, God enter into that small space between the Dentist and the Technician, as they talked about how they probably weren't as aware of God as they should be. And I wanted to say, "You are more aware than you realize!" 

The procedure ended. The cavity was filled.  But my heart was wide open, my spirit alive in a new awareness of God's grace and mercy. 

I knew what I needed to do. I told the technician, for sadly I do not know her name, that I would pray for her (later I would be annoyed at myself for not knowing her name but God does).  I prayed as I drove home,  as I dialed my mother's number.  I left a message.  She called back. It was good to hear her voice.  It was good to talk to her. It was good to re-connect with the woman who shaped me and raised me and loved me.  It was good. I told her at the end that I enjoyed our talk, and that we should talk more. 

And maybe, just maybe, the dental technician's Mom will visit next week, and it also will be good, very good.  I want to see her again, if only to ask, "How did it go?" 

I understood more than she may ever realize the depth of her struggle, but God was making it crystal clear to me, in the most ordinary place and in the most ordinary way, that it was time to move forward, even if its scary.All of this happened in the most ordinary place for the most ordinary reason--I had a cavity and it needed to be filled.  Perhaps, Romans 8:28 could fit here, ironically? :) Even God can use an icky thing like a cavity to reveal His amazing Grace and Love!

I saw God yesterday in the most ordinary place.  Where have you seen God? 

It is only rarely on the mountaintop moments of life--though when they come, they are magnificent.  It is most often in the day-to-day stuff of living where He makes Himself known to us.  When we see Him there, we will be made suddenly aware of His Magnificent Grace and Love, as He meets us there in the ordinary places of life.

This devotion from Utmost from His Highest for today, I think, speaks to this quite well.  Peace,  my friends. In Christ.

"The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life."

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