Last week I mentioned that Will and I can get a lot of mileage out of tiny tidbits. For example, a phrase that we work into conversation once or twice a year stems from subtitles at a gym we belonged to in Virginia. It was a typical morning with all the televisions on but mostly ignored by the gym patrons. Some were on ESPN, CNN, and MSNBC. One channel was turned to FOX and what caught Will’s eye was that the subtitle feature just kept saying “That’s pretty good.” It didn’t matter if the topic was a raging wildfire or the price of gas, the subtitle just again repeated, “That’s pretty good.”
I feel like this subtitle glitch kind of paints the picture of my week. “That’s pretty good” has aptly and sincerely applied. I got some pretty good news. The weather has been perfect. I got some de-cluttering done and fixed a window that hasn’t closed properly for years. One afternoon I read a book by the pool, alone. I got to see some old friends from Virginia I’ve been meaning to see since they moved to Alabama last year. We got to catch up and hang out on their boat. I mean, “that’s pretty good,” right?
But on the other hand, our world is unraveling in heartwrenching ways and it almost feels like we’re watching leaders try and say “That’s pretty good.” The truth is it’s awful. The spinning of it all is callous and anything but empathetic. The tension of all of it feels especially tight, and in a sense it is. We can watch live feeds of death, destruction and despair from every corner of earth. We can even watch the moons of Jupiter pass the big red spot in high definition (how I ended up watching that this week I do not know, but it’s pretty amazing). Our capacity to know and to view is almost limitless, but our capacity to process and to do is not. The Bible is clear about our calling to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn” but the smartphone access leaves us all exhausted by the overload. Yesterday was the day I spent boating with friends. I did not know about the tragedy in Kabul until later. On January 6th I went on a jet ski tour with Nate and Sam in the Florida Keys. I missed both events in real time because I was making memories with people I love. Are you getting time away from your phone and constant updates? If your capacity to mourn with those who mourn feels stretched, maybe it’s time to tighten your circle and unplug.
Jesus offered an unusual method for addressing anxiety. Here’s his recommendation: “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” Luke 12:27-28.
So whether you are in a place where “That’s pretty good” is truly descriptive or is more akin to calloused spinning, we can all benefit from stopping to consider the lilies. When did you last examine the plants and trees that flourish around you? This glory is a reminder that God’s loving attention to the temporary doesn’t compare to the attention He pays to you and to me.
Even in C.S. Lewis’s day, which we might not suspect would feel so overloaded, he wrote, “We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”
Are you starving for solitude, silence, private, mediation or true friendship? Praying, by God’s abundant grace, you find all of these things in the days ahead.