This past weekend I was involved in putting on a workshop about prayer and meditation. I’ll talk about the workshop itself in a separate posting. As well as the presentations on the topic we also provided food. We work on the premise that “if there’s food, they will come”. I knew there were plenty of veggies, chips, dips and desserts being prepared as well as a couple of platters of wraps. But only one meat dish was on the sign up list, so I decided to grab a few rotisserie chickens, pull the meat off and serve it up in small portions.
This left me with four chicken carcasses. I love homemade chicken soup, so before leaving for the workshop I dumped the bones into a large pot, filled it with water, and put it on to boil. When I came home I fired it up again, let it simmer for a bit, then turned it off to cool over night. Now I’m not sure about you all out there, but when I make chicken soup I don’t want just the broth. I want every single tiny morsel of meat that was left on the bones in my soup.
So, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than to scrub my hands clean then plunge them into a pot-full of cold chicken broth? I mean it’s the ultimate Sunday afternoon activity, right!! My husband thinks it’s a little crazy but he sure enjoys the soups that come out of this. However, this Sunday was a little different because as I manually sifted through the chicken bones I had a real spiritual experience. She’s flipped, you’re thinking. Totally lost it, you’re saying.
Don’t be too quick to judge and let me explain what happened. Now I’ve been through this chicken soup process many times before and never thought about God. Perhaps it was a result of the workshop the previous day that had me floating on a higher plane, on a deeper spiritual level; who knows. But as I picked up the different skeletal parts of the chicken to strip them of their tasty morsels, I became very aware of how amazingly a chicken is put together. Hundreds (at least it seemed like that many) of tiny bones all put together and connected in a specific design to create the animal that we know as a chicken.
Then I began to think about how many different animals, birds, insects, reptiles, and sea creatures inhabit our planet earth. Having watched many different animal documentaries and always being so totally surprised by the number of different animals there are, I surmise there must be millions of different species all over the globe. As I thought about that, I began to let my mind wander in this zoo that I had conjured up in my mind and saw all the different shapes and sizes of the various creatures therein, and I imagined all the different skeletal designs that each one had.
It occurred to me in that moment how marvelous and how rich was the diversity of life on this planet. It also became very clear to me in that moment that even if I didn’t have a religious experience in my life, no way could I believe that all this richness, all this diversity, just created itself out of nothing or came from some “big bang”. Some incredibly awesome, powerfully intellectual-beyond-belief Creator had to have masterminded all these different creatures.
My mind was totally boggled for quite a while as I continued to sift and separate bones from meat, from fat, from grizzle, from tendons. It’s in moments like this that I get quite “right sized”. I realize in the same moment how insignificant I am in the bigger scheme of things and yet how important I am. I must be important if this Creator, in the middle of creating this planet with all its life forms as well as the universe with its billions of stars and planets and who knows what else, had the time to think me, to love me into existence with my own unique skeletal design.
In the same instant it is both a wildly happy thought and a wildly terrifying thought because it is really quite unfathomable to the human mind. So I think, and this is just my take on this, that all those grand intellectuals who claim the non-existence of a God, a Supreme Creator, are probably too terrified by the thought of such an all-powerful being to admit He/She/It may be there. I would not like to be on their deathbeds.
Well we did it again. This is now the sixth consecutive year that I have attended Night of Joy at Disney, Orlando. Richard has accompanied me for the last five. We stayed for two nights because Richard decided that the line-up of artists was just too good on both nights. Who was I to argue?
I have to say that in all the years that I have been this event does not lose its magic and excitement. I have never been disappointed, even when they took it out of Magic Kingdom for a couple of years and tried it over at MGM Studios. The artists are always fantastic and the various venues and set ups are just great.
Some of the artists and bands that played for us this year were David Crowder Band, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Sidewalk Prophets, Britt Nicole, Third Day, and Mercy Me. Now where else can you be entertained by such a galaxy of stars in the space of two nights all in one place. There were a few more but I didn’t hear them. That’s probably the only problem – having to choose who to listen to because there are at least two artists/bands playing at the same time in different venues.
For me the best venue is the stage they set up with Cinderella’s castle as the back drop. At night, with all the changing lights playing on the castle, it is truly a magical atmosphere. This lends itself really well to the high energy music and the level of audience participation. Even after six years it never ceases to amaze me that thousands of people travel from all over (and I mean all over the world!) to take part in this Christian event.
The energy that can be felt is very uplifting and I am always struck by the number of young people who are there openly worshipping God. Hands and hearts are raised during every song. And then, of course, during some of the more rock-style numbers there’s lots of jumping up and down “for God”.
I have to say that I think my favorite artist this year was Chris Tomlin whose routine is seamless and very high energy. He doesn’t falter from song to song and his genuine love of God and desire to worship Him is very clear. Mercy Me runs a close second and I really like Casting Crowns and Third Day.
Once again I came away from the experience feeling very uplifted. Music is a precious gift from God and I love the way these musicians give back to God what He has bestowed upon them. Here’s looking forward to next year and another soul fulfilling night of joy!
It has been far too long since I posted some wonderful words of wisdom from other souls that have or still are travelling along this road of life. I was searching for a particular piece of writing and came across some great quotations. Here they are.
“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” (Muhammad Ali)"
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” (The 14th Dalai Lama)
“May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty.
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.”
(Chief Dan George)
“You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.” (Pearl S. Buck)
“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
“Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.” (Julia Child)
“Ideals are like the stars; we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them.” (Carl Schurz)
“I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes – the finer things of life – would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be filled in a spiritual sense.” (Coretta Scott King)
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.” (Dame Edith Sitwell)
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” (Alan Alda)
So many words of wisdom. So many God-given truths. So much shared by our fellow travelers. Sometimes I look at a phrase or a sentence and I wonder what was the author thinking. What was going on in his or her mind? Or perhaps it was something they were seeing or hearing or touching or tasting or smelling at the time.
Some phrases leave me in awe with their simple beauty. Others leave me breathless with their construction, the way the words are strung together. One thing is for sure, words will always hold me caught up in their magic like a child caught in the wonder of a firework display.