Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29 (RSV)

(shot of the delightful long lost sun, looking west form Julie’s driveway / 2013)

Circumstances during the past several days have lead me to a great deal of reflection and pondering.

I suppose various situations and individuals I have both experienced and met, within the last week or so, have lead me to revaluate my place in this life and of my being dependent on the Creator of all life—as I have become painfully aware of my insignificance in the universe after so falsely feeling a puffed up sense of importance.

I must say that I am most grateful that, after such a long period of grey wet days, we have been most fortunate seeing the brilliant blue of a winter’s sky and the brilliance of a full and most healthy sun. I am humbled by the power Nature plays on the emotional psych of we mere mortals. It is amazing watching the lighter step of folks out and about running their errands, dashing here and there, once the sun and its warmth finally returned after days of hiding.

I must say that I am taken aback however by the lack of reverence I have been observing, usually during my daily routines, from many of the folks I simply pass by, here and there, during the journeys of a single day. I am troubled by how people often treat “Life”—be it the immediate environment with the littering which accumulates on the streets, the sidewalks, the parking lots. . . or of how people often treat one another— abrupt, curt, dismissive, or as less than.

There was the woman who was loading groceries into her very expensive car from her shopping cart just as I was doing the same, as I had parked next to her. She was dressed very smartly and was maybe 10 years older than I am. I finished unloading, she finished unloading. I pushed my cart back to the “buggy corral” in the parking lot, walked back to my car, only to discover that the woman had already driven off— leaving her cart merely sitting in the middle of the vacant parking spot which was between us. No car could have gotten into the space due to her abandoned cart. . . I had to move her cart out of the way, back to the corral, lest someone unknowingly hit the cart while trying to pull into the space. Really?

Or how about the myriad of people who stay on their cell phone throughout their entire time while standing in line at the ___________ store (fill in the blank), who finally get up to the check out counter without ever acknowledging the cashier as a human being who is providing a service– instead opting to stay on the phone, never acknowledging anyone around them. It blows my mind. There is a live breathing human-being standing directly in front of them, and yet they are too busy talking on the phone to a voice, that is who knows where, to be kind, courteous or simply human. Unbelievable. .

Or how about waiting on a person, as I have done in my husband’s store, whose phone suddenly rings. With no acknowledgment, they quickly, in mid sale, sentence, question, transaction, answer the phone and walk off leaving you or me simply hanging with a line of people now waiting for them to come back to finish up what they had originally intended on doing. Really?

Have we all become so clueless to our immediate surroundings or have we simply reached a point where we don’t care about those around us, vying rather for the affections of a voice emanating from a small little box we hold to our ear?! Have we lost our humanness, our compassion, our ability to communicate with real people verses voices in small boxes? I am troubled by our lack of patience with one another, our lack of empathy for one another, as well as our lack of respect for our living and breathing world. I think it simply boils down to a lack of reverence for not only the Sacred, but for merely life in general. When we lose our humanness, we lose ourselves.

May this time of year, especially this time of year, regardless of religious persuasion, allow us to reclaim our humanness, our concern for both our fellow man (yes that means women as well—I don’t feel the need to clarify as the word usage is all inclusive) as well as for our immediate environment. May we stop long enough to acknowledge those who are all around us—who is to say that by the offering of a smile, a small conversation or brief interaction isn’t what that person opposite us at the counter, next to us in line, or who is delivering packages and mail to our door, is not in desperate need of just such in order to get through their day. . .the opportunity is just waiting for us to be the right person in the right place for whoever may be in need. . .

Reverence for life, for the planet, for the Sacred, for one another–that is partly what this time of year, especially this time of year, should draw us all close to—to our planet and to our fellow man–or woman—or child. Common sense, kindness, compassion, acknowledgment, are all such simple acts which sadly seem to be more and more difficult to preform. Has our obsession with technology dulled those components within our very being which give us our “humanness”? I hope not.

May we take the challenge during the next couple of weeks to be ever mindful of those around us—those who we pass at the store, the post office, in the parking lot, at the day care, at work, at school, at the mall, etc—wherever we interact with people— by putting down our phones, our “tablets,” our earphones, our e-readers, etc–allowing for kind interaction and acknowledgment of our fellow man. For by doing so over the course of the next couple of weeks, we may develop a delightful happy pattern of interaction that will carry on throughout the entire year.

Here is to a smile and a warm hello. . .