Inauguration – Changing Visions – Changing Dreams

The Domes, Milwaukee Mitchel Park“The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”              I Samuel 16:7

Change is always difficult. When it comes unbidden by us, the changes created are more difficult to accept. Today, our country changed hands. President Obama stepped back and President Trump took the oath of office. We have a new president, which one segment of our nation is thrilled is here. Meanwhile, another segment feels a deep loss and fear. In our divided nation we’ve grown tense and uneasy. We do not trust each other or what motivates those whose values are different from our own. We no longer believe in the good intentions of people whose political views are not like ours. Distrust breeds alienation, false assumptions, division and fear.

On this inauguration weekend, it is good to remember that God sees us all so differently. God doesn’t see blue states and red states, Republicans or Democrats. The color of our skin, the place where we live and our wealth matters little to God. No, God looks inside us. God understands what we are made of. God looks into our hearts. God sees into the very center or our being. God knows our dreams, our hopes, our aspirations. God sees the goodness in us and in those we disagree with.

On our coins are printed the words, “In God We Trust.” Today, in the changing of presidents, is a good day to begin praying for our nation and all it’s leaders. For in some way that none of us really understand, God does work through our prayers. Our hearts are touched with the love of God. We find ourselves being changed in our praying. Divisions between people are bridged. Mountains move, in spite of logic, reason and common sense.

So let us pray for the unity of our nation and wisdom for its leaders. Let us pray for integrity, compassion and justice to rule the hearts of all our leaders. Let us pray for minds open to hear another viewpoint, patience to understand another heart and light to see God’s vision for our nation. Let us live the words on our coins and truly trust in God.

Sometimes, the Answers We Need are Already Within Our Grasp

The Hertz 800 emergency number fell out of my purse four weeks late. I needed it back in Crescent City CA where my rental car refused to start. I had an almost new Volkswagen Jetta that should have been the perfect car. But from the beginning the steering column locked which made it difficult to turn the key. I once had a car like that, so I figured I could handle this. On my third day of vacation, I drove to a Safeway store to pick up a couple of items, leaving all my rental car information at the hotel. In the store parking lot, I discovered the steering column was locked tight on the car. No matter how much I jiggled the steering wheel or the key, I simply could not get the key to turn over.

So there I was in the Safeway Customer Service counter, calling Volkswagen – the only number I did have. They offered to help me out if I would just stay on the phone, go to my car and try a few things. But, that would mean my Virgin Mobile phone worked in Crescent City CA, which it did not. Given the problem, their next solution would be to tow the car one hundred and ten miles to their nearest dealership, in the opposite direction I was traveling. I’d already tried the local Hertz Rental agency which was closed. I still had Triple A though. They promised to have someone there within ninety minutes. As I talked with the Triple A contact, I did get the 800 emergency number for Hertz.

That night, the rental car company was staffed by a kind and helpful man. He told me how to unlock the steering column, by pressing the brake to the floorboard. And wonders of wonders, it worked. That would be two hours after I discovered I couldn’t turn the key in my beautiful blue Jetta. A couple of days ago, my purse tipped over. Cards spilled out of pockets. One of them was a Triple A card I’d tucked into my purse before heading out on vacation. On the card was the Hertz Rental Car emergency 800 number.

Sometimes, the answers we are looking for are already within our grasp. We may simply need to dig a little deeper inside ourselves, or spend time with a trusted friend. The answers may surprise us as we journal about our concerns and our fears. A solution might appear in our reading of scripture or in the words of a familiar song. It may simply be that we are at a place where we need to take those first steps we already know we need to take.

God has as many ways of guiding us as there are people on this earth. Look around today. Where have you felt God nudging you to explore, risk or dare? Who in your life are you feeling a need to reach out to? What problems are burdening your heart and who have you thought of trusting them with? God leads a single step at a time. Is it time for you to take that step in front of you?

Even though I didn’t find the card the day I needed it, I was blessed by a young woman at the customer service desk at the Safeway store who showed extreme patience with me . . . while I used her phone for most of two hours. The Triple A service truck arrived just as I was ready to leave. Turning the car off for a moment, once more, the steering column locked solid. I needed the Triple A driver to get it started that time. In the morning I traded the Jetta for a more seasoned Honda. The next thousand miles went without a hitch.