What frames our days? Is it coffee, alarms, our appointments, exercise, children, work? What motivates us to get out of bed and begin our day… expectations of others? Obligations, classes? Sermons?
There are many things that pull at my day and try to become the centering narrative for everything that I do. This past week, I bought a Kinnect for my Xbox… because I want to be in better shape and lose weight! I went out and bought a great game, “The Biggest Loser” to help me along. It was fun at first… making sure I played the game everyday so it wouldn’t scold me. Losing weight and working out… all very worthy causes for my day. Though I have been successful, feel very good about myself and am definitely a little lighter, I am mindful that this will only last for a time. It is not enough of a reason to get out of bed a little earlier each day… and it is not the story I want to tell with my life. It can be a fun part of my life… but not what frames my life.
We, as seekers of God, claim that our days are to be framed by the one who loves us and seeks us. It is a good and comforting thing to know… but does this powerful truth lay claim to us each day. Does it determine how we live this moment, this day?
I can’t help but think about the story of Jacob and Joseph. After having lived in Egypt away from his father for many years, Joseph sends his older brothers home to get their father. There had been a great famine and great suffering for Jacob in the land of Canaan. He is weathered and weary with grief having lost the sons most dear to him. When, atlas, he hears the news that the son he loves, Joseph is alive and well. Not only that, Joseph has invited him and all of his household to move to Egypt to be cared for, fed and prosper. The scripture says that, “The spirit of their father was revived”. The resurrection of a loved one, the hope for prosperity and protection were enough to revive the spirit of Jacob. All of these seemed like worthy causes to frame the rest of his days and determine is future.
As he set out on the road the next and built an altar to the Lord to worship and offer sacrifices. God spoke to him in a vision and said, “I am God, the God of your father” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.”
As Jacob opened himself to God before he moved into Egypt, God reframed everything. It wasn’t merely about reuniting with his most beloved son or having enough food to eat. These were good things but only temporary. Jacob became aware that the God who loved him and cared for him had chosen this day, this path, this direction for divine purposes and genuine love for his covenant people… a much bigger perspective… something that would endure forever.
I am reminded of a favorite quote of mine that I keep near by:
Nothing is more practical than
that is, than
falling in love
in quite an absolute and final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will effect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you
with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
– Pedro Arrupe, SJ
May the Giver of our days, become the Framer of our Days…. that is my prayer.