I was ready. This morning's blog was to be a meditation upon a culture that produces anxiety and dissatisfaction as it embraces image management and self-fashioned lifestyles. In a postmodern world, we're not supposed to be thankful for grace; we're supposed to be courageous self-actualizers. "America is a country," writes Ralph Wood in Contending for the Faith, "in which no one can be too slender or too rich." "We have all become consumers within the marketplace of personal choices; no matter how contradictory." Our "consumerist culture of comfort and convenience" has conspired to produce more sophisticated consumers not more virtuous disciples. I was ready.
Then, I lost my dog. He's nothing special, a small, five-year-old Boston Terrier who answers to "puppy"--we're not very creative with names. But he's ours; and he's gone. We prayed, emailed the Belhaven neighborhood association, then took to the streets with several flashlight wielding neighbors. Nothing, not a trace. We fell into our beds exhausted and brokenhearted. Some of you know the feeling.
This morning the sun came up early--in more ways than one. The phone rang. P.D. had wandered his way into the embrace of a loving family a few blocks away. After enjoying a good meal, he spent the evening romping on the floor with two young children before settling in for the night under the toasty covers of the master bed. He's home now. I'm glad he can't talk, I suspect he would have refused to come home.
"I like monotony,"
To Thee I lift up my eyes,
O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress;
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He shall be gracious to us.
This Thanksgiving, don’t miss the significance of every breath you take, of faithful friends, good conversation, a moving memory, a long walk, an autumn afternoon sunset, a weekend at deer camp, hot coffee, tailgating, or the return of a lost dog!
Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment 'as to the Lord.' It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.