I'm reading this book called Unbroken, which tells the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner and airman in World War II. His plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean, and he is stranded at sea for weeks. After battling off sharks and starvation and escaping gunfire from enemy planes, he drifts into a part of the sea that is completely calm, still and tranquil. No wind and no waves, just peace and a pearly sky. Despite what he had been through, despite the stress he was enduring from starvation and being so close to death, he sat in his battered raft and enjoyed the beauty and awe of this unique place. The author says Louie recognized it as "a gift crafted deliberately, compassionately, for him..."
One thing I find hard to believe about God is not only does he give good gifts, but he sometimes give us gifts for no other reason than for us to simply enjoy them. I guess it's hard for me to imagine God spending time on gestures of affection, just because.
Somehow I learned that there has to be some kind of practical purpose or reason behind everything done, otherwise it is time wasted. And I apply that reasoning to God, too. But I don't think that is how God intended for us to go about our lives all the time. I think he gives us opportunities to just sit and admire and enjoy and take pleasure and that's all that is required of us in that moment; to take our fill of wonder or relaxation and know that it is from Him.
Today was my first time celebrating Mother's Day with my own baby wrapped up in my arms, my first time celebrating after having known what it is to be a mom. Sometimes I'm not so great at it, sometimes I feel I might not deserve the title and sometimes I rush and don't take the time to savor the sweet gifts God gives me to simply enjoy.
But today I'm choosing to pause long enough to let them soak into me, to let them do what they were meant to do- to illustrate to me that I am loved for no other reason than just because.
An outburst of giggles from my wiggly, smiley, bright-eyed baby girl. Flowers and sweet words of encouragement from my husband. Family to celebrate and laugh with. Fresh blueberries to pick this morning (and if you know me, you know I get pretty excited about blueberries). A wondrously vibrant sunset. A date night out with my husband. The gentle breeze on a warm evening. An especially clear and starry sky.
God woos us softly with these tiny blessings.
But so often I overlook and rush past his gestures of love. Sometimes I think God's plans for us are strictly business. Cut and dry. I feel like I need to fill every minute with purpose or I've failed in some way. And judging by these standards, I fail a lot. I forget God is loving and thoughtful and creative; I forget he takes joy in blessing us, no matter our level of productivity.
I forget the romance.
Of course, I do things for my daughter to make sure she's safe and healthy. And soon I'll do things to discipline her, to teach her right from wrong. But sometimes I do things purely to put a smile on her face or to hear one of her delightful giggles. Seeing her happy makes me happy. I give to Evie willingly, without demanding anything from her in return, because I love her.
God made life for many reasons, but one of them is so He can show us how much He loves us.
I think back to Louie trapped on a raft at sea, and if he could see through his circumstances to recognize and enjoy a good gift from God, then surely I can do the same, no matter what I may be feeling at the time.
So here's to taking the time to notice and appreciate the blessings, the tiny moments of beauty and the gracious gifts we are given not only today, but every day.
Here's to slowing down long enough to enjoy, not because it's practical or useful or because we've earned it, but because we don't want to miss out on a love note from God.