My experience during these several weeks of social distancing and self-quarantine has surprised me. I am one who operates best with minimal noise and distraction. I put boundaries on my time with social media, drive most often in silence, and take plenty of time in the morning to be quiet. Yet, this season of increased quiet has made me aware of how my mind is still so noisy. I flit about from one thing to another, checking things off my list so that I can feel good about myself, but without a sense of settledness and centering. This crisis has made me realize how far I have to go to learn to be still before God and before myself. It is in this context that I read the following quote:
“The reason we live life so dimly and with such divided hearts is that we have never really learned how to be present with quality to God, to self, to others, to experiences and events, to all created things. We have never learned to gather up the crumbs of whatever appears in our path at every moment. We meet all of these lovely gifts, only half there. Presence is what we are all starving for. Real Presence!” (A Tree Full of Angels, Macrina Wiederkehr)
Her words stopped me in my tracks. My mind is racing almost all of the time. Conversations happen while I am thinking of the next thing on my list. My walks are with purpose, blind to the beauty around me. My prayers are distracted.
Then the quote continues, and she wrote, “The secret of daily life is this: There are no leftovers.” Yesterday is gone. Discussions from a few hours back will never reoccur. Joy leftover from yesterday has evaporated.
In the Old Testament, when God led the Israelites out of Egypt, and they spent 40 years in the wilderness, God fed them with manna each day. God specified that they should only gather for the day. If they tried to pick manna for tomorrow, the food would rot.
The same is true for us. Yesterday’s leftovers are gone. Live in the moment. The “crumbs” of today are “lovely gifts.” We walk by those crumbs too often not realizing they are manna from heaven.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about an encounter with a lady at the laundromat that was a crumb from the day (The Least). Because she gave me her presence, I couldn’t help but give her my presence. That crumb was the best part of the day. I remember it now weeks later.
What crumbs will fall in your path and my path on this day? Can we slow down enough to see the crumb, pick up the crumb, taste the crumb? Will today be another day that blurs into all the other past days or will we be present and savor manna from heaven?