Friday, August 10, 2007

Simple Pleasures

God disappears behind the shocking white clouds and the heat of the mid-afternoon sun. When I find any shade worth pursuing, he reappears and I'm grateful for the gentleness of his shade. The entire country is experiencing a heat wave and unbearable humidity. I've felt heat like this before and it's humid all summer long, here in South Florida.

For years I've wanted to document what I see around me, especially as I look up, as well as around me as Callisto and I live our simple pre-Sabbath lives. Suddenly, with no strong intention to own one, a free camera phone appeared in my hand last night--courtesy of ATT's upgrades--and I was able to capture the blazing white ecstasy of a Floridian summer sky this afternoon. The search for other people's close approximations of what I see daily has come to an end, and for that I am grateful.

Suddenly I'm reminded of Bob Dylan's lyric, "She's got everything she needs. She's an artist. She don't look back." While I can't claim to be an artist of any kind, but I'm learning not to look back at what was and at what might have been.

Last week I talked with a Buddhist for the first time in my life. I mentioned I was a Christian and that I wanted to know what was worth sharing about the Buddhist vision of life. The simple response, was "there is no past. Life begins from this moment on." I understood this to mean, in the context of the larger conversation, that whatever regrets or expectations or anything, really, that had gone before, ceases to have ultimate value from this moment on.

I was once guilty of "living in the past" and loving it. I couldn't understand those who considered it less noble than living in the present. While we can't completely ignore the past--at least I cannot--I'm realizing that more and more people live for today and for the promise that tomorrow brings.

If you live in the past, you will die there.

So much time was spent hiding from the heat, that fifteen minutes before the sun set, I knew I had to get out and about if only to have the luxury of being able to return home again. There were restaurants still open where I might run into old friends from town, but their conversation probably wouldn't be very conducive to enjoying the Sabbath. I opted, instead, to order some Chinese food at the local take-out and head home.

On my way home I did get an invitation by phone to see Marc Anthony & Jennifer Lopez' new movie, El Cantante. These friends know I go to church on Saturday morning, but I don't know them well enough to explain why I don't accept invitations to movies on Friday nights. Simply, I said that I had a standing order tonight.

Once home, I enjoyed the simple pleasures of a Weight Watchers Chinese menu and found it lacked zing, but at least it was free of starch, sugar, salt and all the things that give Chinese food its flavor. I was thankful for the healthy meal, nevertheless.

I read a chapter from The Great Controversy and was grateful that I still had an interest in reading a book that some, or many, Adventists stopped reading decades ago. I took what I could from it and then settled down to my progressive time travel film retrospectives I now closely associate with Sabbaths in the early 21st century.

Happy Sabbath to you in whatever decade you happen to be reading this.

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