God of compassion, you suffer in the grief of your people, and you are present to heal and forgive. May the sun of your justice rise on every night of oppression, and may the warm rays of your healing love renew each troubled mind; for you are the God of salvation and new life, made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (taken from Avondale UMC bulletin)

I have a really favorite tradition that is a little wacky. I have pants from the thrift store that I bought for $1.89 that I take with me on mission trips. I also take duct tape and sharpies anywhere I travel…you should too. Several years ago in Haiti, we weren’t allowed to give the children living in the tents after the earthquake anything. Not a cracker, not a toy, not a bracelet. We played, we clapped, we sang (I might have danced to Michael Jackson in the streets of Haiti…maybe) and on the last day I asked them to take the sharpie and sign my pants. So on my pants, I have the names of the kids from Haiti. I also have the lists from years past of what needs to come back to the work sites in NOLA … a ladder, more drywall, a hammer … it is easier than keeping up with a scrap of paper.

My favorite thing, however, that is now written on my mission pants is from Grant Little. Last year in Panama we were reflecting on our experiences…on the relationships…on the ways God was touching our hearts through this mission experience. Grant looked up and he said…”It’s Tuesday and I don’t miss one thing. I’m so content.” What he meant is that he’d been gone from his technology, his environment, his safe places for almost 4 days now and he had filled that space where those things had been with new friends, with new language, with food and with this quiet place. I SHALL NOT WANT. He was so firm and so calm and so peaceful about it—I grabbed my sharpie and wrote on my pants … a little to the left of “drywall/nails” March 2013-Grant: I don’t miss anything right now.

How can we clear our minds, our hearts, our busyness so that new moments can creep in, so that God is what is most present for us and that we have the time and space so that we don’t miss our norms. When do you notice “not missing anything” because you are so content?

God, please allow me to stop, to breathe, to be aware of all that is present right this very moment. Please continue to provide opportunities for me to be out of my normal routine enough to realize how very little I need. Please let me know how much I actually want nothing but your grace, your comfort and your peace. Amen. 

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