In my morning reading today, I read this incredible and uncomfortable quote from Anne Lamott's latest book Hallelujah Anyway: "The world has an awful beauty. This is a chaotic place, humanity is a chaotic place, and I am a chaotic place."
I do feel pretty chaotic most days. Maybe you feel that way, too. Much like the particles of the subatomic world that exists below our ordinary vision, we are constantly colliding with one another, exchanging energy and being transformed (for good or ill) by these constant collisions.
I hold to the belief that God is at work in our lives all of the time, and it is our own limited ability to perceive that keeps us from being aware of God's guiding, loving presence.
Because of this belief, I also hold to the notion that God also places people in our paths (and us in theirs) for a reason.
Sometimes it's easy to see the reasons when being with a particular person fills us life, light and love. But it's more difficult to see the reasons when the person drains us of life and light and is hard to love.
But you can't have it both ways. Either you believe God has a plan or God doesn't. And we have to hold on in faith that even the most challenging people have something to offer us, something to teach.
Lois Cheney wrote about this very thing in her book God Is No Fool:
"I believe in God's master plan in lives. He moves people in and out of each other's lives and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who ever touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched you."
As you move through your day today, think about the many people whose paths intersect with your own, whose mark is being left on you. Pray prayers of gratitude for them all--especially those who leave marks that feel more like wounds.
It could be the greatest lesson they might be teaching you is what relationships to avoid or let go. And you are more because of that lesson.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.