In & Out Burger is coming to Colorado.
I know, an odd way to start a spiritual reflection, but stay with me.
My favorite books on spiritual reflection are all about the little wonders of life. A Small Heaven, by Jane Rzepka, for example. A book that celebrates lost gloves, enjoying a pair of shoes, the ordinary fears of change, a church mouse, and the changing of the leaves. Or The Gift Of The Ordinary, by Charles S. Stephen, Jr. My favorite passage in that book is the reflection on opening our hearts to the indifference of the universe. The illusions that we carry about other’s greatness, or our own shortcomings of greatness, pull us away from what’s important. Stephen says that just because the Earth wasn’t made specifically for us doesn’t make it any less beautiful, for example.
More often, we can revere the little things that give our lives great meaning. Especially in these times when all the great things around us are crumbling. The kindness of strangers returning a wallet. Forgiving someone in an argument even though we know we’re right. The pet that shows up after being missing for a week. A child learning to read. The fresh air of the mountains. And the greatest burger chain on Earth opening sometime next year, just a few hours away.
Here’s a little reading on this from Victoria Safford:
“Set in Stone”
In a cemetery once, an old one in New England, I found a strangely soothing epitaph. The name of the deceased and her dates had been scoured away by wind and rain, but there was a carving of a tree with roots and branches (a classic nineteenth-century motif) and among them the words, “She attended well and faithfully to a few worthy things.” At first this seemed to me a little meager, a little stingy on the part of her survivors, but I wrote it down and have thought about it since, and now I can’t imagine a more proud or satisfying legacy.
“She attended well and faithfully to a few worthy things.” Every day I stand in danger of being struck by lightning and having the obituary in the local paper say, for all the world to see, “She attended frantically and ineffectually to a great many unimportant, meaningless details.”
How do you want your obituary to read? “He got all the dishes washed and dried before playing with his children in the evening.” “She balanced her checkbook with meticulous precision and never missed a day of work – missed a lot of sunsets, missed a lot of love, missed a lot of risk, missed a lot – but her money was in order.” “She answered all her calls, all her e-mail, all her voice-mail, but along the way she forgot to answer the call to service and compassion, and forgiveness, first and foremost of herself.” “He gave and forgave sparingly, without radical intention, without passion or conviction.” “She could not, or would not, hear the calling of her heart.”
How will it read, how does it read, and if you had to name a few worthy things to which you attend well and faithfully, what, I wonder, would they be?