Saturday, February 18, 2012

Trying to Count Birds and Blessings

Today was just a hard day. Plain and simple, just hard.

There's no deep reason for me to say that. Nothing terrible happened. I was overtired, overstressed, trying to get too many things done but somehow still enjoy time just to be with the family. But we all had the grumbles and seemed out of focus and out of step with each other most of the day.

Late in the day we headed to a park for a few minutes of counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I had been looking forward to this, but we'd had a misunderstanding over the family schedule (did I mention we were just all off today?) and weren't going to get much time at the park. There were recriminations and scoldings and frustrations and tears (the sweet girl did the tears, though I was close) and it was really cold at the park. I fed the birds and pretty much did the counting by myself.

Later there were apologies and hugs. D. and the sweet girl headed to a friends' house -- our monthly cluster group. I was feeling tired and achey and just on the edge of congestion but mostly in dire need of alone time and quiet, so I stayed home. I didn't feel like cooking anything so munched leftovers and lay on the couch and read P.D. James.

Then I got up and did a bit of writing and a bit of work pulling together stuff for World Mission Sunday. Tomorrow I get to share with the congregation a beautiful testimony to God's faithfulness written by missionary friends in Uganda. I was so thankful to read that again today as I prepare to share it tomorrow.

You know, it's funny, but when I was younger -- lots younger -- I used to dream about how I was going to grow up and do radical out of the ordinary things for God. Things perhaps not unlike what our friends in Uganda are doing. And now that I am middle-aged, I am realizing that perhaps the most radical thing I can do most days is to slow down, to admit my failures and mistakes, to love more, to deepen my trust in God, to find places and spaces of gratitude in this tiny, very ordinary, sometimes very gray little town where God called our family to serve him. Maybe discipleship doesn't really look all that different here than there.

And maybe, even on days when I just feel tired and like I've failed too many times, I can learn to rest more in his deep, deep love. If the blessings in my life were counted, they'd far outnumber the birds.


Free Range Anglican said...

And when you're old, may you realize that you did do radical and unique things for God, you just thought they were normal things and didn't notice.

Edna said...

Beautiful post--and we have all been there. Trusting God is more radical than we know. . .

Beth said...

Tara, exactly. ;-) What got me thinking in that direction, at least partly, was an article I read not long ago that talked about how we tend to be drawn, when we're younger, toward the adventure and so called "glamor" of radical living. I think as we get older, the draw to radical living and discipleship gets deeper, but we begin to recognize that we're often living into that in smaller, more ordinary ways than we ever thought we could.

Or perhaps we just realize that life -- ordinary life wherever we're living it -- is adventure enough!

Beth said...

Edna, thanks. The trust journey always feels easier somehow when I share it -- and remember how many other people are on it too!