Let nothing trouble you, let nothing scare you.
All is fleeting; God alone is unchanging.
Patience attains everything.
One who has God lacks nothing.
God alone fills our needs.

—St. Teresa of Avila

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You Are My Coffee Shop

Mar18

a modern Psalm—to be read with a good cup of coffee

You are my coffee shop,
A haven of delight in a crazy, noisy world.
You are the soft lights that welcome me,
You are straight, graceful lines and rich, dark wood.
You are the easy chair that embraces me,
You cushion my back and invite me to sink in, to rest.
I inhale deeply, wearily—
Your aroma permeates the air.

selah (take a sip of coffee)

I reach for You, You warm my hands.
My eyes feast on Your lush loveliness.
I lean in closer, longing.
My face flushes with the heat of Your nearness.
I can resist You no longer, I must be one with You,
Have You in me, filling me.
You burst over my senses—
Sweet and bitter, sharp and smooth,
rich and deep and ever so satisfying.
You captivate me completely,
Body, mind, and soul engaged in experiencing You.

selah (take a sip of coffee)

I drink long. I drink deeply.
My thirst increases and I know I’ll never get enough.
Even so, You are too much for me. You overpower me.
Kindly You pour Yourself out in cup-size portions,
or I would be undone.

selah (take a sip of coffee)

Fondly I linger—
Your taste on my lips, Your warmth in my belly.
Your life courses through my veins.
I will carry You with me out into the chaos,
Which I could not face without You.
But rest assured, I will soon return to this sacred ground
To drink of You once again.
For You are my portion and my cup,
My coffee shop in this troubled world.

Moving a Cat

Mar10

Caring for a cat has taught me many things about myself and God and our relationship. Non-cat-lovers might roll their eyes, but it’s true. Here’s the most recent example.

Last week we moved our belongings from Pennsylvania to Indiana. That included my cat, much to her dismay. The trip presented countless strange sights and smells, the roar and rattle of a moving van, and many unexpected jolts and bumps. It also meant 8 hours in a carrier one day, and 4 the next. Now—although I have seen said cat squeeze herself into many less desirable places—the fact that the incarceration in her carrier was for such an extended period of time, and not of her own choosing, left my feline friend less than happy. She yowled loud and long, often biting and scratching and growling for emphasis.

A friend, considering my cat’s point of view, remarked, “Well, I guess as far as she knows, this arrangement is permanent. She doesn’t know there’s an end in sight.”

And, bing! The light bulb went on and another lesson presented itself. So, here is what I would say to my cat if I could, and what I believe God whispers to each of us in times of trouble or distress.

1. I am here, and I still care.
I wanted very much to take my cat out of the carrier, to hold her, pet her, and comfort her. But she had to stay in that little bag for her own protection; it was the safest place for her. My kitty was probably unable to understand my stand-offishness. She could have accused me of being distant and uncaring. But I heard every pathetic mew, and my heart ached at her distress.

2. This pain has a purpose.
I could have tried to prepare the cat for the move; I might have shown her a map of our route. Neither would have done any good. As far as she could understand, this unexpected, unexplainable trauma came from out of the blue and served no rational purpose whatsoever.

3. This too shall pass.
My cat’s plight would not last forever. I knew the exact duration and destination of our trip. But she had no way of knowing that this was only a temporary transition, nor where or when the tortuous trip would end—if ever!

4. I have only your best in mind.
I had seen the place we were moving to, and knew the cat would like it. It has lots of windows and there are no other cats around. There’s even a room just for her! Better yet, it allowed her to stay under my care. This disruption in my cat’s life represented the best I had to offer, despite the discomfort it caused her.

Just as there’s no way my cat could grasp the details of our move, neither can you or I understand the intricacies of God’s master plan, or how our little lives fit into it. If the communication gap is so wide between two created, earth-dwelling beings of flesh and blood, just think how great it must be between us and the Eternal Self-Existing Limitless God of the Universe—try as He might to get through to us.

But the great comfort is this: His best is always truly Good. He never errs in judgment or lapses in His care for us. And someday, when we arrive at our final Home, we are going to be very glad for the journey that brought us there.