Miracles are where you find them

March 28, 2020

Psalm 90:12-17

To count our days rightly, instruct,

that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Come back, O LORD! How long?—

and have pity on Your servants.

Sate us in the morning with Your kindness,

let us sing and rejoice all our days.

Give us joy as the days You afflicted us,

the years we saw evil.

Let Your acts be seen by Your servants

and Your glory by their children.

And may the sweetness of the Master our God be upon us

and the work of our hands firmly found for us,

and the work of our hands firmly found!

 

The concluding verses of Psalm 90 have long appealed to me, and now more than ever.

 

The reality of separation from family and friends is hitting hard.  One dawning shock: for my sake and theirs, I can’t be around my grandbabies. Facebook is some consolation…

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Maybe if I check the latest news one more time there might be some ray of improvement.  Or preferably, a miracle.  No such luck.

 

Today I came across a piece by a woman named Alison Glock, who’s trying to manage her own dismay while comforting and guiding two daughters, ages eighteen and nineteen.  She writes, “in those long, vacant hours, free of clutter and busyness and traditional validation, we will have to learn how to sit with ourselves and discover the glory and meaning in that stillness. Or, at the very least, accept that tomorrow was never promised. In some ways it’s no different than it always was, I explain, we just have fewer distractions to hide behind.”

 

Tomorrow was never promised.  Indeed.  And oh the hyper-management projects and distractions we’ve invented to avoid that fact.  To self-soothe, to give some illusion of control.  And oh, the time we’ve ‘killed,’ placing so little value on it.

 

Yes, we will have to learn, and accept what must be accepted.  The Serenity Prayer comes to mind, and the Twelve Steps of recovery.   Whatever self-soothing way of being that’s got you in its grip, time to let it go.  If you dare. If I dare.

 

“To count our days wisely, instruct, that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

 

No distractions to hide behind, not anymore.  Reality must be faced, fear must be managed, the long view nurtured, kindness and gratitude practiced.  It’s time to step up, say what matters most.

 

But such straight thinking is hard. For me, anyway.  Order helps.  A day properly ordered.  In my life I’ve learned the value of routine, and now more than ever.

 

One thing I value is keeping as flexible and fit as my venerable age will permit.  New reality:  No more weights and yoga group at the gym.  However, I have my yoga DVD’s and a computer at home, and I’ve found the continuation of my practice an enormous relief from tension.

 

As for the weights, my wise son suggested gallon jugs filled with water. According to my scale, each gallon of water weights eight pounds. Good enough!

 

Oh, but I miss one device at the gym in particular: the back extension machine.  This machine supports the front of the lower half of you, feet tucked and hips supported as you lower yourself from the waist into free space, then rise again. I’ve found this enormously helpful for back strength, posture, and in general moving about my world with a lighter step.  I do feel this is a small but holy thing I can do for my circle of care!

 

Rather than give that up I got online and found a reasonably priced version, and within days it arrived in a big cardboard carton, which I sprayed down with Lysol and left on the front porch as long as I could stand it.

 

When my husband and I opened the carton, we looked in vain for assembly instructions.  There weren’t any.  The only guide was what what my husband informed me is an “exploded diagram.” Which looks like an explosion of a million or so small parts, hovering near each other, with arrows and numbers.

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Said my husband, “I’m not at all sure about this.”

 

Yet as we pulled out each part and laid it on the sun porch rug, I saw him go into his zone.  Even after forty years I don’t know exactly how this zone works.  But it does. Reason and the right tools and aiming to please his wife worked their usual magic and soon I had CB-13 Back Extension, made by Valor Fitness.

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Whose motto, by the way, is “Fitness Equipment for the Brave at Heart.”

 

Miracles are where you find them.

 

By the way, the treasures behind the machine are (1) a gift-plant from my beloved Brenda and (2)  a cat facsimile from my beloved Janice, of blessed memory, when I was grieving my real cat Sandy, back in the spring of 2006.

 

And so, we’ll cultivate brave hearts and strong backs, insofar as possible.

Out from behind the distractions so rudely pulled away by the coronavirus,

we’ll establish the best routines we can,

praying that God will teach us to number our days for God’s glory,

And may the sweetness of the Master our God be upon us

and the work of our hands firmly found for us,

and the work of our hands firmly found!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Phoebe Dishman

Phoebe H. Dishman was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. An essayist and poet, she teaches adult Sunday school, compiles a monthly prayer calendar, edits the Big Thicket Association quarterly bulletin, and keeps a keen eye and ear open for birds.

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