...pleasures are shafts of the glory [of God] as it strikes our sensibility. As it impinges on our will or our understanding, we give it different names--goodness or truth or the like. But its flash upon our senses and mood is pleasure.
I have tried, since that moment [of first realizing the above], to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration. I don't mean simply by giving thanks for it. One must of course give thanks, but I mean something different. How shall I put it?
We can't--or I can't--hear the song of a bird simply as a sound. Its meaning or message ("That's a bird") comes with it inevitably--just as one can't see a familiar word in print as a merely visual pattern. The reading is as involuntary as the seeing. When the wind roars I don't just hear the roar; I "hear the wind." In the same way it is possible to "read" as well as to "have" a pleasure. Or not even "as well as." The distinction ought to become, and sometimes is, impossible; to receive it and to recognize its divine source are a single experience. This heavenly fruit is instantly redolent of the orchard where it grew. This sweet air whispers of the country from whence it blows. It is a message. We know we are being touched by a finger of that right hand at which there are pleasures for evermore. There need be no question of thanks or praise as a separate event, something done afterwards. To experience the tiny theophany is itself to adore.
Gratitude exclaims, very properly, "How good of God to give me this." Adoration says, "What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!" One's mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.
If I could always be what I aim at being, no pleasure would be too ordinary or too usual for such reception; from the first taste of the air when I look out of the window--one's whole cheek becomes a sort of palate--down to one's soft slippers at bedtime (pp.89-90).Gratitude is good, commanded, right. This idea of turning all into adoration of the good God who creates and sustains it, though,...this captures my imagination and challenges me to keep growing.
What is this adoration? I think I have sipped it here and there, but reading Lewis I want to drink deeply, long draughts of the Glory, to drink until I gasp for breath. Too often the busy, the worry, the emergencies that aren't, these things drive me away and I wonder why I thirst. The Martha in me bustles busy and distracted, back and forth to the well to draw, and I forget to let the concerns draw me to His feet where I find the one good thing. I forget to drink the only water that gives life, the adoration I was made for.
It's been a quiet week, but here are a few of the Glory-shafts which have hit home. I thank God for them and aim at following them back to their beautiful source in Him.
~"The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds" (Ps. 145:17).
~grace of no medical appointments last week
~courage to call and leave a message for the friend whose phone number I so serendipitously received the preceding week
~creative minds that produce wise books
~listening to the autumnal beauty of Hannah Coulter, understanding my farm-raised, Greatest Generation grandmothers better through it
~seeing myself in the Pharisees' stubborn preoccupation with rules and systems
~God's grace and the blessing of losses to temper that tendency
~Jesus' courage to speak what He heard from His Father and do the deeds of His Father, even though He knew full well that His obedience would set in motion the opposition culminating in the cross
~e-mailed prayers given and received
~God's encouragement from a reader's note about her mom's decades of great life with lupus
~funniest sermon illustration in a long time...
~...that actually pertained to the message at hand
~laughing with others until it hurts: another sunbeam to chase
~celebrating with my sister Mezzo her paid gig in a Bach cantata next month
~God's sovereignty over weather and drought: brief, not forecast pop-up thunderstorm to end a hundred-degree day last week; splendid forecast for this week that could only be improved with rain