Like many of us who wrote a devotional before early 2020, things are very different now than they were when we typed our initial words! But many of the same thoughts and ideas still apply now just as they did then if you only look a little deeper and try to recognize the blessings that this “new normal” has created. There have been many negative things associated with the pandemic, but as we’ve tried to maintain our lives as best we can while keeping our loved ones, neighbors, and ourselves safe and healthy, finding daily encouragement in the small things continues to be one of the most important attributes of this time.
One of my favorite pastimes is going on motorcycle rides. As far as social distancing goes, it’s about as safe as you can get! But last riding season, most of our favorite destinations were closed. There is a saying among bikers that the journey is as important as the destination, and COVID-19 forced us to focus much more on the journey aspect of the ride than on where the road ultimately led. This ties into my devotional thoughts in this issue, that the greatest blessings are sometimes in the smallest details around us. For example, instead of focusing on the barbecue restaurant at the end of the ride, the best reward of the trip was in paying more attention to the constant wonders of nature around us like the smell of cut grass and gasoline, the blast of cool air as the temperature drops when you ride by a creek, or the calmness of a field of cows sunning themselves in the pasture. I hope that post-pandemic, we can all keep sight of the things that this last year has made us more aware of, both the good lessons and the hard ones, but certainly the beauty in the tiniest of life’s details.
The photo above is of one of our favorite rides called “The Back of the Dragon,” which spans 32 miles and 438 curves in Virginia. It follows the natural curvature of three mountains and offers it all: breathtaking views, super-technical turns, stunning greenery and flowers, a lake, and lots of opportunities to see animals in their natural habitat!
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”