Hope is active participation of mind, body, and spirit. When we select to engage in the mindset of marveling we notice the miracles all around us. Today, my “Pray as you go” app looked at Mary and Elizabeth’s relationship. How they marveled at the handiwork of God in their lives despite the obvious struggles personally and politically during that time. How do we embrace life?

I had a student share with the class that he found great joy in going to Disney World with his daughters. Upon their return, he continued to smile and feel overwhelmed with joy from the family trip and seeing his daughters delight in all the wonders of the park. His perspective of the event was framed within his past–an immigrant who grew up in Bosnia during poverty and war. He noted that he did not have a childhood, so to see his children delight and enjoy the magic of Disney was a marvel to him!

The meditation this morning quoted the verses of Mary’s marvel or taking delight in all the things God had done for her. The word marvel means to be in awe, speechless, astonished. The antonym is to disregard or be indifferent. Jim Gaffigan does a great comedy routine on his vacation to Disney. I remembered this segment in his show after the student shared. Two different perspectives on the same experience. I encourage you to watch the segment and think of the student’s perspective.

You’ve often heard it said that one can’t know great joy without great sadness or loss, or know the meaning of freedom until your rights or freedoms have been compromised or taken away. As I closed my eyes to listen to my app and meditate on some of the questions they posed, I thought of God’s continuous hand in my life despite what’s going on in my family or the world around me. You never lessen the impact of the situation by ignoring your feelings or making light of it, but you can see the rhythm of life that also includes opportunities to marvel or you can be indifferent to them. Honestly, I know the times I’m doing this. I, on purpose, choose to see indifference and disregard opportunities out of deep sadness, anger, or exhaustion. It’s okay. Each day brings a new day and starting over.

I smiled trying to think of a modern day example to what I’m trying to express. The picture came to mind of an event, you take pictures, and then you post them on social media. The pictures are the snapshots of your marvel. We see those pictures and think, “What a perfect day!” If we were to also take pictures or journal the conversations that went along with that day, we would be shown the reality along with the awe. We are careful not to post those things because it might expose someone, yourself, and who really wants to hear only the rantings of the day? I wonder if we all could just take a moment to pause and believe that our ability to see these snapshots along with the ins and outs of the day would help us be more like Mary in her awe. Can we be okay with the rhythm without judgment or awfulizing? Is this not the way of our journey home? To experience great joy and great loss?

“The Almighty has worked marvels for me.  Holy is his name.” As I begin to pray today, can I think of the marvels the Lord has worked for me?  – the things in my life I think are wonderful, that I want to thank God for?  (Pray as you go, 5/31/21)

Some of my marvel snapshots are below. I also closed my eyes and just listened. What sounds do you hear that create a sense of awe? Running water? Your loved one’s footsteps? Birds singing? Laughter? What smells? Your favorite lotion? A candle burning? A meal cooking on the stove?

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