We drove up the coast of Lake Superior, rolled up our jeans, and waded into the waves. We were embarking on a bit of an adventure “hunting agates” — a type of rock with beautiful bands that originally formed from volcanoes.
My family and I had no idea what we were doing, but nevertheless, we felt fantastic about our newfound skills. We collected so many special rocks! Look at us! Among the waves and the giggles and the chubby hands proudly showing me their bless-their-heart-clearly-fake agates as I was hunting real ones, I was marveling over how years of waves smooth the stones.
“There’s a lesson in there somewhere,” I chortled. “The post practically writes itself!”
We stopped at a local bookstore, and I picked up a book about agate hunting — clearly our new hobby. I felt quite proud as we sat down with our book and our treasures.
Only it turns out . . . we’re miserable agate hunters. The whole lot of us. Not one discernible agate in the bunch.
I had this whole idea that these weathered stones actually contained something gorgeous inside — and wow — isn’t that like us?
Except the stones we picked were actually mostly just, ya know . . . rocks. Rocks! I felt like Charlie Brown after he gets rocks when he goes trick-or-treating.
Maybe the lesson is for us to enjoy the moment and not the end result.
It’s cliche but sometimes we need the cliche more than the profound. And we all need reminders to live in the present. To laugh when you stumble into the waves. To figure it out when you get it wrong. To laugh at yourself. To enjoy the presence of another. To be present instead of always looking ahead.
We all have different orientations to time. I’m a forward-thinking person, but maybe you’re one who tends to get lost in the past or focused on the present. I’ve been trying to be more present in my reality, but sometimes it’s difficult. How can I see God when I once again clean the bathroom? When my child asks the same question for the fiftieth time?
I can be so focused on what is to come that I miss the delight of being in God’s presence now. Of seeing the image of God in my life, in my neighbor, in myself now.
I’m reminded of Elijah and his experience of hearing God. He expected to hear God in the crack of an earthquake, in the fire after the storm. But instead, God spoke to Elijah with a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-18).
We often think of God speaking to us through something grand. Through beautiful, multicolored gemstones. But what if God is speaking to us through the plain brown pebbles, too?
I still have my little sandwich bag of gray and brown stones. I keep it in my office close to my desk. And when I hold the smooth tiny stones in my hands, I remember that God was with me then, is with me now, and will be with me in the future.
The Maker of all things delights in me — in you — because we are simply called Beloved. The sacredness of our time on Lake Superior wasn’t in the beautiful rocks, but in the laughter shared and memories made. What might you be missing out on if your future expectations distract you from the sacredness of now?
We think we find God in the fancy agates, but maybe we find God in the simple moment. Immanuel, God with us.
A Blessing for Finding God in the Mundane
May you catch your breath, even when the scenic views are the mountains of laundry.
When you feel most unseen, may you see your Belovedness reflected in every dirty dish, every traffic jam, and every piece of junk mail.
When you feel the scarcity of time, may you experience the timeless magic of a child’s laughter or a grandmother’s embrace.
When everything feels like too much, may you find laughter hidden in your pocket like a forgotten $5 bill.
When your body aches with the world’s pain, may a cup of comfort find your hands and infuse warmth into your weary soul.
And most of all, may you know that you are held in the palm of a God who knows you and sees you — who is present in every ordinary task and exhausting headline, who delights in your laughter and sits with you in your tears.
Who knows you, really knows you.
And loves you infinitely more than any words strung together could ever even fathom.