The morning is waking up and there are horns bleating outside the front window. Every several days, someone blocks the one-way road and the traffic behind that someone alerts the whole neighborhood of the inconvenience. But I’m inside listening to William Fitzsimmons so that somehow makes me immune to early morning annoyance.
It is Friday and there are Iowans invading NYC to see the Mayor and his team play tonight at Madison Square Garden, Spring keeps promising to be around the corner, and the work day will be short because other work days this week have been long. Today is good because it is today, because there is provision in sunshine and life and breath and being. Today is already good before it begins.
But today, I am still percolating a Monday conversation – still stewing about what it means to consider others’ needs ahead of mine in the context of city life and neighbor life and human life. How do I walk with Jesus to the cross as He made himself nothing in service to others? How do I forsake all else so that the love of Christ might be known?
There are excuses and legitimate ones, like exhaustion and safety and schedules and mental stability. We put ourselves first because we are too overwhelmed by lights and noise and commotion to do anything else. But, I am taking the legitimate excuses of city living and raising them a miracle. If excuses played poker, I think they might always go “all in” but they would definitely lose against miracles.
Miracles trump excuses.
I can always put myself next because miracles trump excuses and the keeper of miracles has called me His child. I am not invincible – I require sleep and quiet time and sunlight. I am not invincible, but God is and His portion is big enough to overflow mine.
I need to learn how to love others when it is inconvenient and when it is not self advancing and when it is painful and when it does not make sense – not because I am trying to be superhuman, but because I believe that miracles trump excuses. God provides the energy and wisdom and abundance and joy and this miracle overcomes every excuse like a tidal wave. We are freed from the striving that would be losing, so that we can share the burdens of others.
The weekend is dawning and I am already looking to the coconut cornmeal pancakes I will make for the next Pancake Mondays. I will probably still be percolating this community idea when the neighbor crowd gathers around the toppings to talk about city living.
What are your thoughts, friends?
Why is it so hard to put ourselves second or third or fourth (with joyful hearts)?
5 thoughts on “miracles trump excuses”
Mmm, thanks for sharing. I find it hard to put others first when I forget about the Miracle. When I lose sight of Truth and start to rely on myself for strength and wisdom, I don’t have as much to give. When I really sink into the Truth of God as my Provider, and Sustainer, I am free to give and serve without worry of my own needs being covered, because that has been promised.
I could not agree more – I forget oh-so-often. I want to sink into the Truth so I am free to give. Good words, friend!
It is hard because it is not innately intuitive to our nature to do so. It’s interesting that we want to number things in order of “me” being the first, “other” being the second, third and forth and so on. However, I believe it’s a bit worrisome to say we ‘need’ to put the other first in regards to doing something joyfully. Joy (as I’ve been learning from my dear friend C.S Lewis) he found– is not the act of Joy that he seeks–but more the desire from which you experience Joy. The minute we push for miracles in replacement of things we cannot do, I believe stifles actual Joy.
“I need to learn how to love others when it is inconvenient and when it is not self advancing and when it is painful and when it does not make sense”
I do believe that ^ signifies an interesting view of self sacrifice. I mean this– if you sat down on the subway (for example) and told the lady/man you were about to ‘put before you’ that “I need to love you because it’s inconvenient for me. I’m not trying to advance myself, but this is painful and does not make sense to me” I think they would give you a quizzical look– but would still accept your act.
I also aim of this desire to ‘love well’ but more recently have desired to rid the THOUGHT of loving well. Because once the thought enters your mind, you are thinking more about the thought of loving, the thought of non-advancement, and the thought of it being painful–yet you will ‘overcome’–or Jesus will overcome–with his miracle. But what is the miracle for? Is the miracle for the act of love itself (that can’t be since love already may very well be there) or is the miracle for YOU to love ‘well’?
It is hard to put ourself second, or third, or ninetieth because of the fact that that is still ultimately where ‘we’ ‘I’ want to be. There is no complete Joy in the thought of putting yourself anywhere. You say ‘I love you’ to someone–or a thing– because you desire it–fully. It brings you to a place of desire for that moment in which you can speak to it and let it be known how you desire to be with it. You are not thinking about how much you are loving that thing– or person– more than the last- Or how well you are doing it on that day. You are thinking of it. Solely the ‘it’. It’s a longing–and it’s deep–and very very Joyful.
Think about it this way– either way, you or to whom you are giving/loving/speaking is receiving. You will be the ‘first’ to give, and they will be the ‘first’ to receive in that moment of time in which a Miracle is already taking place. The Miracle–in this case might not be known to you in any way. Where you walk back through the streets, with horns blaring and you are just as ready for a new day as you were before you sat down. “There’s always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.”
“…But I will speak of pleasure, for I see that men aim at that, and I do not know that they aim at happiness. It is pleasure that lurks in the practice of every one of your virtues. Man performs actions because they are good for him, and when they are good for other people as well they are thought virtuous: if he finds pleasure in giving alms he is charitable; if he finds pleasure in helping others he is benevolent; if he finds pleasure in working for society he is public-spirited; but it is for your private pleasure that you give twopence to a beggar as much as it is for my private pleasure that I drink another whiskey and soda. I, less of a humbug than you, neither applaud myself for my pleasure nor demand your admiration.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
You, as a beautiful hostess and hospitable person that you are, have mastered the act of doing what brings you Joy and wholly loving an art. You are not first because you are providing pancakes (or your house) and the other is not second for eating them. You enjoyed baking them (or else you would not have done it) and the friend enjoyed eating them (because we all must eat and what better to eat than breakfast for dinner!) You both are at the crux of love in the form of friendship, neighborhood and company. It is in Jesus’ delight (if I may boldly dare to say what he feels) that you both are simply enjoying. The Miracle lives in your spatula as much as it lives in their fork.
In essence, in our Earthly state we will always be trying to rid ourself of ‘first’ — however ultimately and paradoxically–we are always second, third, fourth,etc as much as the person next to us.
These are just my ramblings– I think it’s an interesting topic that’s brought up in the Church and I was happy to throw in some lines. If any of this sticks, swell! But if none of it does, or you think it’s gibberish and does not speak to you in any sense, shut your computer to never think of it again and have a wonderful night 🙂
Brilliance. Thank you, Lexi, for having thoughts like this and sharing them! I will be reposting some of your response…. because I love it and more people need to read it.