Simple (and Not-So-Simple) Abundance

I showered in a rainbow one afternoon awhile back. Let me explain. We have a large skylight in our bathroom. Late in the afternoon, the sunlight shining in through the skylight glints on the water streaming out of the shower at just the right angle, turning it into myriad droplets of rainbow.

Then there is the dialogue that took place in my kitchen recently. Our three-year-old grandson had arrived to spend the day with us, as he usually does on Wednesdays. I had given him his breakfast, and needed to step around the corner into the next room for a moment. From the next room, I became aware of a lively discussion going on in the kitchen. Roland was carrying on a dialogue in two distinctly different voices. Stealthily, I peeked around the corner. The discussion was between…. two dried Bing cherries, one grasped in each firm fist!

My black lab-redbone hound mix dog has a favorite resting position: on her back, back legs stretched back, front legs extended over her head. Often, she leans up against a piece of furniture, or the side of the house if she’s outdoors, so she doesn’t have to hold herself up. To say she looks lovably silly is an understatement. It always brings a smile to my face, and usually gets her a belly rub as well.

For me, the key thing here is being aware, awake, enough, and slowing down enough to notice these moments. To pay attention. Can I allow myself the time to immerse myself in these moments, these flashes in which the sheer abundance of life makes itself known? When the ordinary, the everyday, suddenly reveals itself as immeasurably graced and grace-full? Can I embrace these gifts, and can I embrace myself as being worthy of them? I am. All of us are.

Other such gifts are more complex in how they come to us, but nonetheless amazing. I have lived places where everyone was responsible for dealing with their own trash disposal. Most recently, because we chose to recycle what we could within the limited capabilities of the area, that meant first of all separating out trash from recyclables. Then the recyclables themselves had to be sorted, glass from newspaper from office paper from plastics (but only #s 1 and 2). Each of those things went to a slightly different place. At the place where we could recycle glass, the colors had to be separated, too. And the trash had its own destination. I am still often struck by the marvelous simplicity of Muncie’s system. I open the door from my kitchen to my garage and toss any recyclable into the blue-bag lined recyclables can. Then all of it, including trash, goes into the trash toter which gets taken away every Friday. We return the toter to the garage, and the entire process is repeated, without fail, every week. An abundance of efficiency!

To some extent, we create our abundance by our attitude. I’m realistic enough to understand that far too many of the world’s people, including our own citizens, live in circumstances of such extreme lack that to talk about creating abundance by our attitude is hollow at best. My primary concern here, nonetheless, is the rest of us—those of us who live with nearly unimaginable abundance and too often fail to notice it, let alone pause long enough to appreciate it.

Let’s cultivate an “abundance attitude,” if you will:

  • We can pay attention, slowing down enough to notice and actually experience what we have.
  • We can be both grateful and aware of the welling up of gratitude.
  • In both cases, we can remember not to take things for granted.

With gratitude for all of you and for the abundance of our congregation,

~Rev. Julia