Some days are just cute animal video days. Maybe it’s because reality is too much. Maybe it’s because it’s gray and rainy after two perfectly beautiful “10’s” on the EOA (eat outside index). Maybe it’s because bad things happen to good people and you can’t do anything to change it. Maybe it’s because you suddenly realize you can’t plan for every possibility, and sometimes the thing that happens is the one thing you didn’t plan for.
I’m a look-aheader and a plan-in-advancer. You wouldn’t probably guess that by the looks of my desk which has a sometimes alarming disarray of books and papers stacked to the point of possible physical injury if they ever all fell over at once. But I know where most things are in the stacks, how to retrieve them when needed, and can visualize where they all would go if I decided to put them all away on the same day. I did that last summer before my surgery, you know, in case it happened that I didn’t come back. I wanted whomever came in to prepare for the next person not to have an impossible job to get things packed. No, I wasn’t being morbid, simply part of my plan-in-advanceness – it’s somewhat comforting to me.
But then the days hit when I know I can’t plan for every possibility in life to make my life or anyone else’s life easier, less painful, or without struggle. See, I understand intellectually that we all grow from living through tough times. We learn things about our own strength that we probably couldn’t learn too many other ways. We learn things about the depths of resources, the breadth of the community that offers support and encouragement and presence, the long arc of compassion that exists even in those we might not otherwise believe are “feelers”. But while I understand intellectually that we all face tough times and can grow in new and important ways through struggle, it doesn’t mean I accept those times well, most particularly for those with whom I have the privilege of walking and talking and serving and working and gathering around goals, and visions, and dreams. I have often said to folks through the years that if I had a magic wand, I would certainly wave it around them and take away the journey of disease or heartache or suffering they are experiencing, but in God’s wisdom, no magic wand has ever appeared in my hand. That means the best I can do is listen and talk and pray and laugh and love and witness to the presence of a God who always answers, simply not always the in the way I would prefer. And sometimes I don’t feel much good at doing those things either.
So today is one of those cute animal video days. I know there is news out there for me to attend. I know there are families grieving because a guy drove a van onto a sidewalk in Toronto, purposely hitting as many people as possible. I know the violence and genocide in Syria continues as leaders hurt their own people for the sake of power. I know that the fighting over sacred land in the Middle East continues and that protestors are killed for the act of protesting. I know that our young people are tired of being afraid to go to school, tired of drills for when an active shooter is wreaking havoc in the hallways, tired of attending candlelight vigils for classmates for whom life became too much to continue living. And I’m privileged to know people in our midst who are fighting personal battles that humble me with the strength it takes to carry on and the spirit to walk into another day bringing the best they have when showing up is truly the most heroic of choices. I know there are all those things and more, but today, well, today it’s a cute animal videos day.
So I’m including my favorite odd animal pairs video and a couple pics of my own favorite odd animal pair in case it’s that kind of day for you too. I know the video is for a commercial, but the song and the compilation makes me smile every time. And at the end it says, “be together, not the same.” I love that! I hope it brings a ray of sunshine on a rainy day AND maybe a minute of grace for you too!