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Everyday Awe

[caption id="attachment_1781" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP[/caption] "Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of God." Psalm 33:8 I visited New Orleans recently and stayed with our sisters at the Bancroft House, which is a large home on Bancroft Drive. The back patio faces Bayou St. John, a waterway that is an offshoot of the Mississippi River and flows into Lake Pontchartrain. It was so lovely to sit outside with my morning coffee and look across the bayou watching bikers and joggers speed along the path on the other side. While I was quietly contemplating the water, suddenly a fish jumped up out of the water and dove back down, then up again, and again.  I never saw fish jump before. The only live fish I ever saw were in my brother’s tank: guppies and goldfish. This was amazing. I was in awe at this phenomenon, which the sisters in the house seemed to take in stride. "Oh yes, they do it all the time," Noel said. It reminded me of the musical Porgy and Bess -  "Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumping and the cotton is high." So that’s where the idea came from. WOW. What a revelation for a city girl. Fish jump? Really? Actually, I counted up to five times in one jump. They were slick and fast and quiet, hardly making a splash in the water. It was like watching an ice skater doing a triple axel. As the psalm said, let all the inhabitants of the world "stand in awe" of God. I certainly stood in awe. And it continues to amaze me that there is always something in God’s beautiful world that surprises me. Fish fly? Really? They do. If it is so easy to stand in awe of nature, why is it so hard sometimes to stand in awe of another person? If fish can fly, can’t I see something surprising in unexpected places and in unexpected people? If fish can fly, then can I still be surprised by people who I have come to see as predictable?  I mean the people to whom I have grown familiar and accustomed and in whom I may not have any expectations.  If fish can fly, can’t they?  Is there a surprise for me in them that I do not see? Who am I to say they can’t fly? Maybe I have not noticed that they do.  If fish can fly, then I know that God can give us all wings. There is so much for which we can be in awe. It should happen every day. Everyday awe, when we take a moment to notice the sun, its position in the sky, its frame of trees or clouds. Everyday awe, when we sit still long enough to notice God is speaking. Everyday awe, when the beauty of another person’s spirit is revealed to us. Everyday awe, when we realize that if fish can fly, then so can I, and so can you. If fish can fly, then we can know a moment when possibilities open up and we can see the world and each other in a new light. Dear God, Sometimes I just don’t see that familiar people can still surprise me. Help my capacity to stand in awe of all of your creation: fish, trees, water, and people too. Amen.

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