The sun is shining it's beautiful brilliance and I am grabbing a brief two hour time period to write this blog in between work and meeting friends for dinner.
It's been a full, busy, yet beautiful week.
Full of running and food and friends and ideas. Full of hope. Full of great conversations. Full of some precious memories.
I'm super thankful about so many things, but I'm going to share one particular moment from the week that has made it great.
On Tuesday evening me, Ayumi and Kayoko had a night time picnic together.
Seriously, two of my favourite people in the whole entire world and me shared beef stew, hot cocoa, and fresh bread on the floor, sitting on cushions, fairy lights suspended over our heads, looking out over the night time garden. At 10pm.
It looked a little bit like this:
I mean, that's a perfect evening right there and then.
But there's actually a whole back story to this.
Me and Ayumi, on occasion, love to not cook dinner and instead take a housemate trip to our local Freshness Burger. Here we can buy a variety of very Japanese-yet-kind-of-American burgers, and what has become a traditional (as we always drink it) large Chai Tea Latte (that no, I can't drink until August because of the giving-up-tea-thing).
Anyway, when you buy a large Chai Tea Latte from Freshness Burger, it comes with a wooden stirrer stick. And each wooden stirrer stick comes with a little bit of wisdom on it. I want to say it's kind of like a latte-stirrer version of a fortune cookie, but it’s way cooler than that. This is less of false-predictions-about-the-future, and more of general-awesome-guidance for your life. Things like, 'You should watch a Kung-fu movie this weekend!' or 'You might like to take a nap!' or such other brilliance.
I mean, when is it not a good idea to watch a Kung-fu movie?
So, me and Ayumi have a bit of a joke that Freshness Burger is actually Holy Spirit inspired. It's just a joke. Don't stone me for heresy. I think Holy Spirit laughs at us.
On Tuesday afternoon, I had a particularly busy afternoon at work, but Ayumi went to Freshness Burger alone and bought a regular beverage. It came with a stick that proudly suggested:
If you can't read that it says:
'Go picnic at night. It's fun.'
Seriously, that's some super deep wisdom right there.
Ayumi sent me a message with that picture and a question mark.
Which was enough to rearrange all our plans and spontaneously descend on Kayoko for the evening's festivities.
It was totally and completely worth it.
We had a beautiful, fruitful, refreshing evening of laughter and food and loveliness.
And so my challenge in reflecting about this whole unfolding adventure is a simple question.
How come it's so much easier to follow the jokingly-made-instructions on a wooden-stirrer than the actual unshakable Word of God?
I mean, actually, Freshness Burger really doesn't have my best interests at heart. When I'm really and brutally honest I do understand that these little wooden sticks are just a well-played gimic to ensure my consistent custom at their store.
But God? How can I ever doubt that He is 100% for me.
That every instruction He gives me is 100% for my good.
That He will never lead me somewhere that will harm me or lead me to my destruction.
That He will always be faithful to all of His promises and all of His goodness.
And so often I try to rationalise it. I read the Word. I hear His voice. And it's as obvious as being told to go on a night picnic.
But instead of rearranging the plans and packing the basket, I try and make His ways fit to my own.
But I've had a long day at work God? It's too late to picnic? It'll look stupid hanging lights everywhere? I might impose by suggesting it to my friends? It would be more sensible to go to sleep early? It's too cold at night?
And if I think through all of those reasons, night picnics don't happen and opportunties are missed and joy is sometimes glossed over.
But if I remember that His yoke is easy. If I get that His burden is light. If I align myself to gaze at Him…
Well then when He tells me to picnic in the night I don't question.
I just do.
And I realise that He meets me in the obedience. In the doing. In the risking.
I read a couple of great quotes this week that I'm going to finish with. The first is by Mother Teresa.
At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by 'I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.'
The second is by Kate Forsyth.
May my heart be kind, my mind fierce and my spirit brave.
Both sum up my prayer for my life. That I would hear clearly and act wisely. That I would grow in kindness. I sacrifice. In love. In joy. In the things that please His heart.
Big love people. Here are some more photos from a beautiful week in Sapporo.