My one word for this year is ‘wonder’. I would estimate I’ve spent a good 2% of the year so far in a state of wonder. But my attention was called back to the word, to my commitment this week as I heard a quote by poet Mary Oliver: ‘I want to know that I spent my life married to the bridegroom of amazement’. How on earth?! I thought as I worked long hours, increasingly grumpy and coming down with a virus. I prayed a simple prayer, though: God, help me. I don’t want to miss it. But I can’t see it and I don’t want to try. But I want to want to.
And today was a little miracle. To preface – not a flashy, write home about miracle. But I believe in the mustard seed, in the small being enough, the glimpses of glory being some of the most precious reminders of heaven-right-now.
I left work alone, quiet, into the evening chill. As I walked – earlier than normal – I realised I carried the feeling that it is well. My boss had been in meetings all day so the day was peaceful, quietly crossing things off the list which had stayed stagnant for weeks. I had lived the day slower, savouring moments of grace – pausing for a good chat with a colleague-become-friend without the usual anxious rush to get back to work. We laughed, a lot. I savoured the flavour and texture of my food. So used to inhaling without tasting, focusing instead on keeping the food off the computer keys. I knew later when I had done enough and was ready for home.
I found myself waiting at a red light, opposite my station. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Always rushing, always late, always scrambling to squeeze an extra drop out of every minute, I run through red lights, dodge traffic, pay no attention. I realised, standing on a fairly quiet street, waiting for the light to turn green, that there is a mysterious beauty in waiting your turn. In relinquishing the need to be as quick as possible and instead take a moment to acknowledge that we are not in control – we cannot always dictate the where and when and how. Sometimes we must patiently wait for the green sign.
I wandered over to the river (all in all this mini detour of 20 metres cost be 10 minutes of waiting at 5 different red lights in a bizarrely designed intersection) but it was worth it. I stood over the river in the cool night breeze, speckled with the light from the buildings shimmering on its edge and imagined the very breath of God hovering over the waters. This was amazement. A fleeting glimpse of wonder at being alive to see this, to taste and know that it is good. That God is good. And the world – in all its broken imperfection – it is good too. Redemption is always close, curling up around the edges. In shimmering water, in cool breeze, in flavours, in laughter, in slowing down, in the seconds of waiting before a red light and remembering that we are part of a grander story if we would stop and trust the Narrator.
All in good time, God whispered in the breeze as I stared out over the water. It was all so undeserved – this glimpse into the divine. I have strayed far from prayer, far from my Bible, far from trying to connect – choosing instead to use my simmering resentment and indifference as a punishment for the God who isn’t rescuing me from the workplace and environment which pushes my body, mind and soul to the limit. Not providing any neat answers when I demand them.
And yet here I am. Treated to a glimpse into wonder and reassured that it is well. All in good time.
I know moments like this don’t come around every day – ordinary as it may seem. So I’m holding fast to it, knowing that these glimpses are sacred. That while being married to the bridegroom of amazement can sometimes feel like a lot of hard work, other days he surprises you with flowers and knocks you off your feet. And just there, like manna in the desert, my insatiable hunger is quieted and it is suddenly enough.