"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thankful Thought(s) #2

When I was 14 and having a personal email address was the New Thing, I attended a Christian high school that gave everyone an email.  This was way before the days of free gmail, before hotmail even.  If you wanted email, you had to pay for AOL.  Weird, I know.  We also plugged our computers into the phone lines, and if you called your aunt and she was online all you could hear was beeping and whirring, but don’t let that blow your mind for too long.

So, email was new, and we could email anyone (and everyone) on our school’s network.  Somehow, I don’t remember how, I decided to send a “Verse of the Day.”  It was very, very pious of me, I know.  And it was technically spam, though back then I still thought spam was a canned meat product.  People were able to unsubscribe if they wanted (though I didn’t know the word for that yet either), and a few did.  But every day, I would go into the computer lab first thing in the morning, or during lunch, and send a short email with a verse.  I would sit down with my NIV Student Bible, flip to a passage (usually underlined with rainbow gel pen), and type the words out one by one (yup, no biblegateway.com either).  No commentary, no context, just Scripture.

My zeal at this task kind of amazes me.  Maybe I should be embarrassed at my spiritual fervor, but I think that at 14 it was completely unaffected: I loved my Bible.  Reading it was like picking up a batphone to God.  I’m sure many days the verses I chose were just plucked out of some passage in Leviticus we were reading for Bible class (every day we had an average of two chapters assigned to read, in order to read the whole Bible in 4 years—I’ve never heard of any other Christian schools that are actually that systematic about things).  But most days I sat down and asked God, “What today?” and—I’m still blown away by this—every time, he would bring one of the verses rattling around inside me to the top, like the die in the Magic 8 Ball.

I used to get emails back from people I only vaguely knew, telling me how much the verses had touched them, or spoken to a situation they were facing, or encouraged them in the face of real suffering.  One woman, I think she was a secretary, even made a Word document (Yes, Microsoft Word is eternal) with all the verses, and sent it to me at the end of the year.  Maybe sending out a random Bible verse daily is like writing a horoscope—cryptic enough to mean anything to anyone—but I like to hope there’s a little something more to it, you know, “Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you.”

I wish I could go back to that place of a faith so sincere and confident that it overflowed unselfconsciously, and by some chance blessed a few people.  Goodness gracious, I’m in a different place now!  But during the month of November I’d like to spam your Google Reader a little with some daily thankful thoughts.  Fall is a good time to be thankful, even if you’re not counting down (like I am) to American Thanksgiving.

Since I’ve yet to ever actually finish a blog series that I’ve started, I’m making this one foolproof.  The series is over November 24th.  I won’t make any goals for how often I post, and I’ll try to keep posts mercifully short.  

Today, I’m thankful for the memory of “Verse of the Day.”  And even that Lucy kept me up ‘til 2 am to remember it.

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