Grace Notes: Holy day of non-obligation

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By The Staff

Today is a holy day. Some churches designate certain days as holy days of obligation, which (I think) means obligatory attending of services on days you otherwise wouldn't.

But today, for me at least, is a holy day of non-obligation, of free will and pleasure.

It's raining, although that doesn't particularly make it holy. It does help, however. At least today. At least that's what I think.

Today my husband is painting inside my closet and the coffee maker is mid-brew. Up until a few minutes ago I was sitting on the living room floor, my back to the sliding glass window, cleaning out the roller thing on my vacuum cleaner.

I have a fuzzy green blanket that I keep on my recliner chair and it sheds like crazy, and that's what jammed up the vacuum cleaner. So I took the bottom piece off - actually my husband did - and got a sharp knife and cut away all the green fuzz that had gotten wrapped around the roller.

As I did, I listened to the rain and thought about how badly we need it and how green the grass and trees are these days. I thought about lizards and wondered what they think of rain or if they think at all, and then I thought about cows and the white birds that hang around them. I think they're called egrets, but I call them cow birds. I wondered if cows mind getting wet in the rain and if they think thoughts.

Then I figured I'd put that on my list of what I want to ask God when I see him, right up there with "What do babies dream about?"

With the coffee brewing and my husband painting and me cleaning out the fuzz in the vacuum cleaner roller thing and thinking about lizards and cows and rain, it's truly a holy moment, a holy day.

Last night we put together a file cabinet for our spare room, which was also a holy moment. We ate salmon for dinner and hung a picture in the bathroom.

We bought a lamp to put on top of the file cabinet and bought school supplies at Wal-Mart for kids we don't even know.

Today I'm struck by the holiness of all these moments. Right now it's silent in my house except for the sound of the kitchen clock ticking and the rain falling on the back patio.

I can hear my own heart beating and feel the rise and fall of my chest as I inhale and exhale. I'm thinking about how God has breathed life into his creation and into me and how every one of us has a holy purpose.

Earlier my purpose was to hold the bottom of a picture steady against the bathroom wall while my husband fiddled with the level on top, making sure it was straight. I cleaned off the wire closet shelving that will go back in my closet tomorrow. At noon I fixed lunch, a harvest salad with pears and bleu cheese.

In the 53 years I've been on this earth, I've raised two children, loved one man. I've awkwardly tried to share my faith with people and I've learned to make a perfect pot of rice. This has been my purpose, bits and moments of a life lived in the holy love of God.

These are the holy thoughts I'm thinking on this holy, rainy day.

In "The Valley of Vision," a collection of Puritan prayers, one entry simply titled "Love" says:

"Holiness is a spark from thy love kindled to a flame in my heart by thy Spirit, and so it ever turns to the place from which it comes.

"Let me see thy love everywhere, not only in the cross, but ... in the world around me. When I feel the warmth of the sun may I praise thee who art the Sun of righteousness with healing power. When I feel the tender rain may I think of the gospel showers that water my soul."

That's what I'm feeling today - the holiness of a day that's simple in its activity, yet richly infused with the presence of Christ.