But by the grace of God I am what I am, and God's grace in me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was in me.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:10
Years ago the writer and singer John Gorka wrote a song in which he proclaimed, "Life is full of disappointments, and I am full of life."
At the time when I first heard these words I was experiencing many difficulties. It always amazes me how words from a song can take me back to a moment, or situation, and when it does, there are feelings that can see to reappear.
Henri Nouwen, before writing his book, "Return of the Prodigal Son," studied the painting by Rembrandt for years before gathering the words to convey to others what the painting made him think and feel.
I am often reminded that we are connected in many ways. We watch a movie and a row of viewers cry at the same moment. A symphony discovers the rest at the same moment in a piece, and the room is completely silent. A man hangs on a cross and cries out, "Why have you abandoned me," and generations of people gasp at the thought that God would leave any of us.
I realize as I become older that our lives are filled with shared experiences. At some point each of us will know what loss feels like. Our ability to laugh, sing, and to dance is our response to life together, like the Kansas wheat field reacts to the wind, as waves dip and rise on a summer's day in response.
I have to admit that Lent seems to take me to a new place in my spiritual journey each year. While I remember the life and journey of Christ, I realize that He is finding a deeper place in me. Places that when touched are like the words to a song from long ago, or the first time I encountered love, anger, disappointment, abandonement, or forgiveness.
It is the reminder to me that for all the things that I have experienced in my life, the greatest of these is met by the grace of God that reminds me that I belong to God, and for that reason, I can continue on my journey.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.