I trudged across the grounds of the retreat center, making my way to the meeting room. In 15 minutes, I’d have to stand in front of a group of women who’d come to this weekend retreat wanting to learn about kaleidoscope living—seeing God in the patterns of their everyday lives—from the weekend speaker: me.
As I arrived and began to settle in, I wondered what those women would say if they knew how much I needed, right then and there, to see God with near-perfect resolution and clarity. Earlier that week my husband and I had just found out the full extent of a close family member’s multiple mental health and drug addiction issues. Her rehab would probably be long term. The child protection agency wanted us to step in and take custody of her 16-month old son, already in foster care. “You’d be going on a long-term journey and you don’t know the outcome,” said the caseworker. Been there. Doing that! my tired brain had signaled just before it shut down in shock. Mid-life mothering, living in a big city on one part-time ministry salary—mine—while my husband interminably looked for work, an aging father suffering from congestive heart failure . . . I had struggled for weeks now just to stay one step ahead. And now this!
Kaleidoscope living . . . seeing God in the everyday patterns of our lives.
I wonder if that isn’t what our New Year’s resolutions are all about. We clasp our smartphones close, gaze at calendar fields yet to be filled in and decide, once more, we’ll make good on all the promise of those new 5,840 waking hours that wait for us around the corner. This time, whatever it takes, we’ll find clarity of purpose and calling. More than that, though, we’ll seek the particular clarity that comes when we hold our child’s kaleidoscope up to a source of light, turn the tube, and see the random pieces of broken glass that rattle inside suddenly resolve into symmetrical patterns of color and beauty that take our breath away. And isn’t that clarity what we crave when life’s curveballs come and we find ourselves unprepared or unable to just . . . deal?1