Gifts of Exquisite Beauty
|A few weeks back, Lee Ann Kelly shared the article A Home for Holy Odds and Ends, which resonated with us both. May these excerpts and her reflections inspire you to pause, notice, and give thanks. |
The writer mother explains their “family altar” of found objects, “I told the boys that God placed special things in their paths — things other people saw as nice, but to which they were uniquely drawn, as if they were calling each boy by name…They were God’s gifts, reminders of how much he loved them… these gifts were placed in their paths all day long — they just had to notice them.
God kept saying, ‘See that? Isn’t it beautiful? Pick it up. Don’t step over it. Notice it! Really see it! I am with you. I love you!’ I said they should look to Him and say, ‘Thank you for putting this here just for me. I love you, too.’”
The author’s boys put their found objects on the altar. Then, several years and children later, her 3-year-old was nagging her to look at his newest treasure.
She finally relents, looks at him, and “My breathing stopped. I was transfixed by his beauty…I was stunned. I had spent years telling my children to look for gifts of exquisite beauty, and I had forgotten to look in my own path. I was stepping over the gifts God had placed before me, again and again and again.”
Logically, that story would hearken to thoughts of my own children and grandchildren. Yet my mind took me to my faith community.
I believe “community” is at the heart of the gospel. God’s hands, feet, heart. Made tangible. Acceptance. Authenticity. Belonging.
With this in mind, I began to wonder. What gifts do I miss/dismiss as I nod to, talk with, pass by the community the Lord has given me? And, what keeps me from receiving these gifts?
What came to mind first was my preoccupation. And with a resolution to to slow down, I kept moving. And this would have been forgotten if I hadn’t tied that resolution to taking a breath.
Pausing for beauty is easy for a dog walker. Yet when I seem to be bidden to take a breath are the bumpy, prickly moments when my stress is poised to boil over in a raised voice, a hurting word. If I take that breath, I seem to have greater access to those qualities that many know as the fruits of the Spirit: patience, kindness, forbearance, generosity… (which I only recognized afterwards).
And I seem to receive two gifts: the gift of being who I want to be and the awareness of God’s presence. And when I didn’t take a breath? On one occasion, I did an “autopsy” of the interaction and a day later, asked for a do-over which enabled reconciliation.
Acceptance. Authenticity. Belonging. Gifts given and received. Much inspiring thankfulness.
Lee Ann Kelly
Order of Service: 11/24
Sermon: Therefore, Let’s…! (Hebrews)