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I’m again reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. And going through Advent books by Ann Voskamp and Hannah Brencher. I know. Those don’t really relate to each other or go together but bear with me. Today in the Advent reading, Hannah was talking about not missing things in the mundane.

“Our God is a God who orchestrates redemption stories. He is constantly up to something. Where we see random days, he sees so much purpose. Where we see lines in a story, he reads between those lines and fills our days with all kinds of serendipity.” Hannah Brencher

We have to be present. We have to look up from our phones. We have to be watching. If we don’t want to miss it. How much are we missing by crashing on the couch and watching tv? This season has been hard and it has been so easy to just be numb and ignore everything. To veg out in front of the television, ignore the news, ignore the pandemic, and escape into another world for a few hours. Obviously there is nothing wrong with this. I fully support binge watching shows. Especially funny ones that make you laugh.

But now I am pondering… what am I missing out on?

Elizabeth Gilbert says; “ The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of the hunt – that’s what I call Big Magic.” I know. she isn’t writing from a Christian perspective. I’m not in any way saying that. But if you haven’t read Big Magic I do highly recommend it. From a creative/writing perspective it is an inspirational book that makes me want to wildly pursue my dreams and never look back.

Separate the mundane from the enchanted. Separate normal every day life from what God sees in between the lines. Fill our days with serendipity. Isn’t that what we are longing for? To see the world as God see it? To see the magic?

Mary Oliver, whom I have recently come to love, asks the question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your. one wild and precious life?”

Covid has made this hard. I know. Pursuing dreams seems inaccessible. Out of reach. It feels like we have had to press pause on our entire lives. Did you think it would last this long? Did you think, oh we will have a few weeks of this, maybe a month and then we will be back to normal life? And I refuse to call this life our “new normal” because that is what they called our lives after the bombing and it is a huge trigger for me. My life after the bombing was my new normal. A leg that doesn’t work, pain, trauma, ptsd. That is my new normal. I won’t go back to how I was before the bomb. Covid will go away. There are many vaccines. In a year or two we won’t be thinking about it much. That is not a new normal. That is a temporary (terrible) trial that we are enduring, walking through to the other side.

When lockdown started it was sort of nice right? We don’t have to go anywhere. We can curl up on the couch and binge watch shows and eat whatever we have delivered to the house. And it was kind of like a terrible vacation where you didn’t know when you would go back to work or if you would, but if you forgot all of those things… It was sort of this break from the world. Right? And now we are 10 months into this pandemic and we are heading into a new year and people keep saying I can’t wait for 2021. (As if covid will disappear as soon as the clock strikes 12). Which it won’t.

My point is, it was ok during lock down to veg out and ignore reality and put a pause on your dreams. Because everything was crazy. Everything was so unknown. We had to focus so hard on just living. And NOW, it is still crazy and still unknown, but have your dreams been on pause for 10 months? Have you been waking up each day wishing it was time to go back to bed? And I am not minimizing the trial of this time. It has been HARD. But I know that I need to stop trudging along through each day just hoping to get through it. I hope we get through today, and tomorrow, and this season, and this pandemic. But when you look back on 2020 what did you do? What did I accomplish? Where was the magic? It is there if you try to see it. Make a list. Mine looks something like this…

  1. I got to really know my neighbors and develop relationships with them
  2. I spent more time with my family
  3. I got to spend months in Texas with my family there building relationships with them that have made us closer than ever
  4. I saved enough $ to buy a new car
  5. We had home church during lock down and that was such a sweet time. It was a blessing to grow close to a smaller group of people

I am trying to put things into place. I am trying to start seeing between the lines. I am trying to not miss the magic. Tell me. “What is it you will do with your one wild and precious life?” Lets go into 2021 seeing the magic. Seeing God’s hands at work. Let’s pursue our dreams as much as we can. Let’s walk into it with open hands. Pandemic or not! Let’s figure out what we are learning through this hard time and put it into words or art or music or a podcast or a blog or an encouraging conversation with a friend.

Start small. Start with a half hour a day. Open your eyes. Look around you at the grocery store. Notice other people. Look in their eyes and smile. (they can tell, even if you have a mask on I promise)

“This is a time that won’t come again. God will never duplicate it in this lifetime. And I believe he wants to show up and show off for us throughout this Advent season. [And this pandemic]” HB

So, show up. Look between the lines. Try to see what God is doing. Try to see the magic.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver