mute swans
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? [Luke 12:25-26 (NIV)]

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. [Psalm 26:2-3 (NIV)]

In spite of the ominous looking sky, I thought the rain would wait more than an hour before arriving, so I confidently set off through the woods. By the time I was halfway through my walk, however, the clouds were delivering their rain. While meteorology isn’t my strong suit, optimism probably is. As I slowly got soaked, I thought of the quote that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass but rather about learning to dance in the rain. We can choose to be wet and miserable or wet and happy—either way we’ll still be soaked! Although I didn’t dance, I didn’t let the rain dampen my spirits. Knowing I couldn’t get any wetter (and ever hopeful of a Kodak moment), I stopped along the trail and went out to a viewing platform. I was rewarded with my first sighting of the swans this season (who were doing their own version of dancing in the rain).

There are those of us for whom the glass is half full and others for whom is it half empty. For the Buddhist, however, that glass is already broken. The story is told that Achaan Chaa, a Thai Buddhist master, once held up a glass of water for his guests. After telling them how much he admired the way it held water, glistened in the sunlight, and rang when tapped, he added that, for him, the glass was already broken. The sage explained that one day the wind would blow it off the shelf or he’d accidentally knock it from the table and the glass would shatter. Thinking of the glass as already broken, he could delight in it while he had it and wouldn’t mourn its loss when it did break. Chaa wasn’t a pessimist; after all, glasses break! Rather, because he knew every moment with his fragile glass was precious, he was a mindful realist. Of course, his lesson was about far more than a simple glass of water. I suspect that the Buddhist master, fully aware of life’s fragility and truly appreciative of all it has to offer, knew how to dance in the rain.

Christian mindfulness is more than being conscious of what we are feeling, doing, or thinking. It is paying attention to God, focusing on His kingdom, hearing His voice, growing in love, noticing and treasuring His gifts, and thanking Him for them. Christian mindfulness sees God’s hand in all things and doesn’t worry about tomorrow. It lives in the present and trusts God for the future. The Christian, knowing how the story ends, has joy and peace in all circumstances.

Heavenly Father, we know we live in a broken world—a world with disease, disaster, destruction and death. In spite of this brokenness, guide us to be mindful so that we delight in every person, place, thing, circumstance and breath with which we’ve been blessed. Give us the ability to hear your music and dance in the rain!

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. [Mother Teresa]

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.  [Psalm 149:3 (NIV)]

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