The distance around my elliptical driveway is one-tenth of a mile. I know this because I drove around it, watching the odometer—and then did it again just to be sure. Sometimes in the fall, I take a careful jog-trot around its leaf-strewn gravel, a compromise intended to jump-start a flagging metabolism without putting undue wear and tear on aging joints and narrowing spinal interstices. Five times around makes for a half-mile of elevated heart rate, deep breathing, and an uncluttered mind.
Of course, the gift of those empty mental parentheses is that I get to decide what I’m thinking about while I’m avoiding loose stones in the path and thanking God for the fiery red Virginia creeper and the rusty orange of fading marigolds. Lately, I’ve been following the example of Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet who watched the nation of Israel disintegrate before his very eyes.
In Lamentations, Jeremiah records the morbid details around the sacking of Jerusalem and the devastation of siege warfare, but by chapter three, he has turned a corner and made a choice. He leaves his mental parentheses open just long enough for an act of the will, and, shutting out the evidence for despair that lies all around him, he “calls to mind” a new thought that gives him hope:
“But this I call to mind,Lamentations 3:21-23
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
The beauty of this poetic tribute to God’s faithfulness is heightened by its context. To intentionally call to mind images of gratitude in the midst of peace and prosperity is one thing, but it takes a sinewy faith to summon them when chaos reigns and the future looks bleak.
I’m digging into this topic in more detail with my friend on the west coast, Sue Moore Donaldson, and if you CLICK HERE, you can join the conversation over at Welcome Heart. Oh, and I’m also sharing my tried and true recipe for cornmeal rolls–a great make-ahead for Thanksgiving dinner, or any dinner where it’s nice to have the rolls taken care of in advance.
Holding you in the Light,
To intentionally call to mind images of gratitude in the midst of peace and prosperity is one thing, but it takes a sinewy faith to summon them when chaos reigns and the future looks bleak.Tweet
How Will You Be Celebrating Advent This Year?
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