Awed and Amazed
Here the houses are pink and light blue and light green and yellow and coral and every shade of the rainbow with almost no brick. And each of these many houses is made of reformed earth, blocks assembled of all manner of material and held together with a paste made of other rocks. And outside each of these houses the plants are plants from all of time. Sago palm, not a palm at all, but a cycad--a plant of Jurassic vintage, essentially unchanged from the times when dinosaurs fed on them and on their smaller ground-cover cousins. Magnolias--whose white flowers and primitive cone-like fruit has grown these grounds since the Cretaceous--among the first of the flowering plants, ushering in the great age of the Dinosaurs. St. Augustine grass--grass in name only that coils and snakes its way across the many yards, thick ropes and tangles of its stems holding the bare earth together. And depending on the season our many animals--first the birds: egrets--cattle, Great American, Snowy; herons--tri-color, night, great blue; Storks and cranes--Sandhill and woodstork; Ibis, both white and scarlet; the occasional roseate spoonbill and bald eagle. Then the other fauna--tree-frogs, and Cuban emigré frogs, and toads. At night the swamps and collection pools might boom with the call of the gators, if it is mating season.
All of this is simply the setting for people who every day come out of their homes to go to work, to labor over their houses and yards, to sit in the garage with the door open and watch the world go by, to chat, to argue, to drink, to party. Each little house a blank facade that tells you nothing about the life inside. So much an expression of our own facades, that hide so much of the life inside.
And that seems the most amazing thing of all--the life inside us all. Through the tender attention of a Divine and loving creator we are each sustained in our individuality. We are each made whole and unique, with talents, gifts, abilities, and inclinations all our own. We are each fashioned to be saints--to love God in a way that is uniquely our own. God breathes life into us in each moment--and all of these houses, yards, animals, trees, the rocks themselves, are sustained moment to moment by his mercy, forbearance, and the tender love of a Father for even his wayward children.
But yet more amazing, we are each of us the image and likeness of that same God. If we could stop our endless self-involvement for just a moment and look deeply into those nearest us, we would be able to catch a glimpse of God in even the most unGodlike. We could see His face in the face of each brother and sister. We would know His love in the person of His people. God is with us in the persons who surround us. If we do not meet Him, it is because we have withdrawn and choose not to see Him. His presence is everywhere--His hands the hands of each person we meet; His eyes look out at us from countless faces; His heart beats, loudly or more softly in each breast.
So here where I live, in all the pink and yellow and green and blue and coral houses, here where sagos and magnolias and St. Augustine grass paint the landscape, here were birds of every feather and alligators and frogs all gather, in each of the houses of reformed earth lives a God, our God, who lives within us, the Holy Spirit sustaining us.
And now most amazing of all--this is true wherever we go. And all too often we choose to overlook it. Take a moment today to see God in what is around you. Take a moment today to express heartfelt gratitude, whatever our situations, for the great mercies He shows in every moment, the great graces we receive when we are open to receive them.