Friday, November 5, 2010
I'm not a bible beating Christian. I'm not even a very good evangelical Christian. Hell, let's face it, sometimes I'm not a GOOD Christian at all. I even shut the door once on an evangelical Christian who thought 8:30 was an appropriate time to ring my doorbell and read me the Bible.
And, despite all the great things the good Lord has given me, I flaunt it back at him by drinking large amounts of alcohol, smoking cancer sticks (NOT treating my body like a temple), cuss like a sailor, forget to love my neighbor (especially the one with the screaming kids), and generally just act in a self-absorbed, narcissistic manner.
But I am a Christian.
And, lately, I've been feeling a little "woe is me" and "my life sucks", even though I'm truly blessed with a great life, a wonderful and loving husband, a deliriously supportive family, and a nice batch of dear friends.
So, I've found it necessary to turn inward and reflect a little on my relationship with God. Much to my distress, I've found it to be a bit on the waning side, whereas I would much prefer the waxing end. I recently watched "Eat, Pray, Love" (which I thought was a disaster, really), but I did manage to pull out a few spiritual gems from HER narcissistic life. Which inspired me to buy a book called "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith" (is that supposed to be underlined? In quotes? Just italics? Whatever) which I am enjoying.
But, being a self-centered being, I also want a sign. You know? A sign from GOD, the ALMIGHTY. Because if I'm going to be doing all this soul searching, shouldn't he take time out of his busy schedule to at least acknowledge what I'm trying to do? (Heavy sarcasm here, for those who do not know me well).
Today, in a beautifully warm sixty-three degreed day with blue skies and sunlight reflecting off the Imperial buildings of Vienna, I went out for a walk and to run some errands, one of them being to buy travel books for Colombia. (Yes, we're going from here to Bogota. I'm not overly excited about the idea, so thought some travel guides might shine a happier light on it than kidnappings and drug lords, guns and taxi hijackings).
As I strolled out of the bookstore, there was an immense crowd below a balcony and a big, fat, gospel-ly singing black lady entertaining the crowd. (Not that this kind of thing happens everyday in Vienna, today was Voice Mania, an International a cappelo Festival, so all through the city singers were drawing crowds to their assigned balcony.) I had heard her singing while in the bookstore, and as I exited I stopped within this mass of people to enjoy the show for a minute.
The next song she belted out (beautifully, I must add) was "This Little Light of Mine" (again, with the usage here??? I know there's different ways for books, movies and songs. Too lazy to look it up). Soon the entire crowd was joining in, singing and clapping and swaying and alternating between English and German.
And, as I started clapping (with a little swaying), I realized "here is my sign". In a random city, on a random pavement, on a random day that just happens to be a cappello day, at a random time of exiting a random bookstore below a random balcony, I get to hear a crowd of people, led by a great singer, sing the most basic of hymns. A hymn that brings me back to being four years old and belting this song out in Sunday School.
It brought tears to my eyes and faith to my heart.
Thank you Lord.