Tonight is the eve of the 5th Sunday in Lent. I just got done setting my clock ahead for the dreaded spring forward. I am not looking forward to the morning darkness, no matter how many times I remind myself about the longer evenings.
It is a lovely evening. It is dark now. Tomorrow night at this time it will still be light, I think. I want someone to remind me to sit on my patio and pay attention to it. Perhaps someone will.
Earlier this evening, I fed my dog Scout, and then almost immediately afterwards, opened the patio door to get that nice breeze in.
Almost immediately she looked up from her food bowl and went out to the patio. She must have sat there for fifteen minutes, her food half-eaten.
This is a dog who is usually single-minded when it comes to food. I wish I could read scripture with the sort of attention she gives to her food, which is ALWAYS the same. She attacks it with vigor, and doesn't stop until everything is gone. It is inspiring.
But not tonight. Tonight something else that caught her attention. I can't imagine what it was. My senses are not as finely tuned as hers. But in those minutes that she sat there, meditating (as I imagined it), I did begin to hear the birds, songs I had not paid attention to. They are different birdsongs here in Texas than the ones I was accustomed to in Minnesota. Perhaps it was the birds. Or perhaps it was smells -- Texas is covered in pollen now. I can see it, the yellow layers on my car, sliding off in the heavy rains this week. Maybe Scout can smell things that I am not able to.
There are smells in tomorrow's gospel reading. I am not paying attention to them. There is the smell of death and the smell of the costly nard, poured over Jesus' feet. Scripture says that the smell filled every corner of the house. I wonder what it was like.
I wonder what it was like, sitting at table with Jesus, just being together. It is not long before he will be crucified. They have this moment together, to savor, to be together, to pay attention, to be aware of his presence with them.
Sometimes you have to stop what you are doing, what you thought was so important, and just be present, be in the presence, know that, whether you can sense it or not, God is in the room.