We’ve now been living in Hungary for just over 4 months. That is not very long to have lived somewhere, and yet it’s still much longer than we’ve ever lived somewhere this completely “new”. If you visited our apartment, it might still seem very similar to the life we had in the Midwest United States. We have stacks of books everywhere. We have technology utilized for learning and keeping in touch. We even have a couple small pumpkins – proudly and quietly announcing the beginning of Fall.
Of course, there are some large ways things are completely different. There are post-it notes and sheets of paper taped to the walls, reminding us of simple/basic words in the Hungarian language. There are two clocks on the wall, reminding us what time it is where many of our friends and family live. There’s often a drying rack in the middle of the bathroom, filled with clothes we hope to wear soon. Oh yeah – there’s a dad hanging out whenever he’s not out serving or connecting with someone because home is now the office.
It’s the same in many of the environments we go into: church, grocery store, the local park. There are a collection of large differences – easily seen. There are a large collection of large similarities – also easy to identify. But then there are moments like this past week. Toward the end of the day, we wanted to encourage the kids for doing so well and took a stroll to our local, “Elizabeth Park” (Erzsébet Liget). We also needed to collect leaves from the ground for an art project Sarah was leading with the kids at the nearby children’s home.
As we walked slowly around, we noticed the early signs of fall: the first blanket of fallen leaves, the leaves still in colorful transition in the trees, the cool breeze, and the slight smell of decay as the life of a summer forest begins to fall asleep. Then we saw it – a tiny ball of fur we mistook for a bird or chipmunk, waddling through the forest floor. We drew closer and were transfixed for a while by this tiny creature we’d never seen before “in the wild”. The hedgehog did not disappoint, scurrying across the path and gobbling up a worm while we crouched nearby to watch. It felt like a reward for paying attention to creation.
It may be similar in our lives today. Many of us will admit that our lives are different because of the love of Jesus Christ. There are some huge ways things are different: The grand decisions we’ve made about who we will be, where we will live, and how we will live. There are also some huge ways that our lives look very similar to those who’ve yet to discover the love of Jesus.
But in the midst of it all, there may be tiny almost unnoticeable ways that today can be different because of receiving and participating in the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Little ways you’re invited to forgive, show kindness, be patient, offer grace, or simply join creation in reflecting the goodness & beauty of God while breathing slow. Whatever it might be – live today as if such a moment is near you even now. Not anxiously not wanting to miss it, but anticipating with a warm heart – the moments where you can join the activity of Jesus & His good creation. There are often more of these scurrying about than we might realize…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23b, 25