It’s just a bowl of oatmeal. Scotch cut; nonfat milk; a hint of real maple syrup, added in a last-second burst of indulgence. The coffee is a tad on the cool side — enough to notice; not enough to drive me from this chair. But I ground it just seconds before it met my French press, and the smell, as it rises to my lips, is so potent I have to pause to draw it in deeper.
I’m conscious of the fact that when I go downstairs to heat this cup, I’ll also have to deal with the stove, because while I sat upstairs in a posture of gone-away delight, listening to an old Billy Crockett CD (I so love Billy Crockett), that oatmeal boiled over and left a milky puddle beneath my burner.
I’m conscious, too, that in a moment, I’m going to have to forget this oatmeal, forget Billy, and turn my attention to the document hiding just beneath this WordPress page. I’ve a retreat this coming weekend, and four teaching sessions that won’t write themselves.
But in this moment, I need to look up. He’s there … and it’s my turn to speak.
How often do You do this, Lord? How many uncaught hints do You send in an ordinary day?
It’s just a bowl of oatmeal. But I’m aware of something sobering. He could have just given us Manna. He could have run the calculations, gone to the kitchen, and pulled out the one item that would keep our bodies blinking and breathing and crossing space. One flavor. One texture. Manna.
He could have skipped the whole notion of coffee beans.
He could have stopped just short of breathing rhythm into being … and we wouldn’t have known the difference. Our lives would be stilled and silent. No soundtrack. No angst. No moments where we caught the heart of another in the lines between lyrics. We would have lived and died without once closing our eyes in a moment of stark connection and shared worship.
And we wouldn’t have known. We wouldn’t have known.
It’s just a bowl of oatmeal. It’s just coffee. It’s just music.
Oh God, how You love us.
(I put this video together last year for a retreat based on Psalm 19. “How He Loves” performed by David Crowder; “Your Name,” by Paul Baloche.)