I stand at the sink and wash lettuce leaves. And I feel it again. The tightness in my chest. The strangling sensation that life is getting too big. The impulse to run from all the responsibilities. And mostly, the nagging fear of failing it all. Who of us is ever really prepared to meet God?
Where is God going to find us when the yes comes and the waiting ends?
He’ll find our hands in the lettuce leaves.
He found Zechariah at the temple, his hands busy performing the duties that were his as priest.
Zechariah and Elizabeth had been praying for a child for years, prayers that have since grown cold. Zechariah had given up looking for God, given up hoping for an answer.
What must it have been like for him to continue serving as priest, one who's responsibility it was to lead others to God, when he himself had given way to doubt? Was it mechanical, all this priestly routine? Did he feel like a hypocrite?
Good news arrives on the most unspectacular of days.
And sometimes our greatest courage rises when we get out of bed.
Who expects to see God in the bush and the lettuce leaves?
But we should. The I AM God, the God of the eternal present, comes today. In the piles of laundry and the grocery lists, in French homework and ravioli boiling on the stove.
In the lettuce leaves.
What do we do, when like Zechariah, the world spins, and everything stands unbearably still? When we pray and hear nothing? When we pray and feel nothing? When God doesn’t answer, and doubt has taken captive every thought?
We get out of bed. We get dressed. We go to work.
We answer emails, make phone calls, shop for Christmas gifts.
We wash the lettuce.
Advent is the good news that today is the most sacred moment of our lives, that God is present in every ordinary and unspectacular second I breathe.
Not yesterday, not tomorrow.