November Moments

Our November weather changes the view from my window daily if not more often, from rain to cloud to sun, and the colors of the leaves vary in intensity as the sun comes and goes.  Sometimes they are fairly subdued, but when the sun shines they glow red, gold and orange with brightness I see nowhere else. Even the fallen leaves are a brilliant tapestry of vibrant color.  By contrast, except for the scarlet cardinal and the blue jays, the birds I see do not attempt to compete. They are brown sparrows and doves, gray and black chickadees and nuthatches, black and white woodpeckers–sober, year-round residents who don’t seek to call attention to themselves, but allow the leaves their brief time of glory.

I believe God uses such moments to break into our lives and call for our attention. A moment of thanksgiving, a brief prayer–these can be a way of keeping in touch with God in the midst of a busy day if we take the opportunity to do so. And who knows how we might be blessed by such moments, if we will only respond to them.

God Intermingles Everything for Good

“We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose,  and turns everything to their good. ”  Romans 8:28, New Jerusalem Bible

In one of her Starbridge novels, Susan Howatch uses the phrase “God intermingles everything for good” and compares intermingling to sunlight and shade.  Sometimes we can have too much shade, or sunlight.   We need one to appreciate the other.   If I pay attention I see this intermingling in many places.   When I was diagnosed with cancer, my despair was intermingled with hope for successful treatment.   Everything changed, but everything was not gloom and darkness.

Each week in the hospital’s infusion room I meet people of faith and hope.  People from all around the Mahoning Valley, some who’ve lived here all their lives, others who came here from Puerto Rico, Palestine, the British Isles  (me), all of us fighting cancer, all, it seems, people of hope, of faith.  We offer each other hope, encouragement and prayers.  We don’t ask what faith we claim, we trust in God to hear and answer our prayers.  There are times of discouragement but also times of rejoicing–when a course of treatment is completed.  The nurses are beacons of light and hope, explaining procedures,  reassuring us through their skills and compassion.

The Chaplain reminds us of God’s presence and love even here.  A high school student, a recent immigrant from Nepal, is a breath of youthful fresh air.  She practices her English on us, and we exchange information about Nepali, American and British customs.  Everyone congratulates her when she passes her driving test,  and offers encouragement as she prepares for the ACT.

The infusion room is a microcosm of the world, and when I pay attention I see God’s intermingling of all things for good–the secret is to pay attention!