My Love Affair with a Lizard (Part 1)
Vickie MacArthur of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord. -Psalm 98:4-6
Often God comes to us in surprising, yet delightful, forms. God is hidden in the ordinary. Yet, if we’re too busy or caught up in our own thoughts and activities, we may not recognize God’s gift of presence.
A few years ago, I had a four-day love affair with a lizard, a cute, scaly creature that never looked at me straight on but somehow sensed every movement I made. I’m not sure what your relationship is with lizards, but I never used to pay attention to them, let alone love them. So how exactly did I fall in love with one? Maybe I should back up a bit to help you understand.
I had the opportunity to be part of the first three-year Spiritual Formation and Companionship program offered by the church. Every time there was a short break, I would find myself wandering over to a small bench close to the pond. Here I could retreat and clear my mind- just sit…watch…listen…to the sound of birds, the trickle of water, the leaves fluttering in the breeze. I could almost sense the trees breathing around me.
One time when I came, there was a large lizard lazily sunning itself on one end of the bench. I approached very slowly so as not to scare it away, barely breathing, sitting down and being very still. The lizard sidled away a bit but remained there, watching me warily from one eye poking out the side of its head, as I in turn watched it, both of us barely moving.
There was something very holy in our silent exchange. I knew I needed to pay deeper attention. I watched the lizard’s ability to be still and alert with me there. I could see the tiny movements of its head, its eyes, its tiny lizard claws, the way it just sat and observed, just taking everything in. I could feel my own soft breath, and I tried to tune into the movement of the lizard’s breath as I watched its chest rise and fall.
I remembered a time at Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist retreat center in France, when I sat very still watching a tiny frog sitting on a large, smooth lotus leaf in the pond. A tiny dewdrop was sparkling on its tiny chest; and every time the frog breathed, the dewdrop sparkled like a diamond flickering in and out through eternity. I could feel this diamond light sparkling in my own heart. I felt it then, and I could feel it now as this moment dissolved into that moment. Perhaps all these moments of holy attention are not really separate moments but a sacred aliveness that is always there. They are moments of interbeing between time and space and species, gifts of grace freely given, if we only have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The kingdom of God is among you (Luke 17:21).
Ordinary Time is a season for waking up to what is already here, to the kingdom of God already among us. Spend time each day breathing in the presence of God wherever you are. Notice how simple interactions, tasks, and relationships are sacred opportunities to share and receive God’s love, justice, and peace. Pay attention to the sacred quality of everyday, ordinary life. How is the kingdom of God seeking to be embodied through you each day?
Today\’s Prayer for Peace
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