Look Alive!

Today’s passage for my Advent art meditation is Mark 13: 33-37. The apostle warns us “stay awake” and not be caught unaware when the Master returns. This passage comes at the end of a chapter on all the trials and tribulations to be expected in end times. I find the message relevant to me in current life, not just for some future official “End Times.” It’s a scary chapter. It snaps me out of my complacency and reminds me of all the horrible things that could happen in life. Things that DO happen…I just hope they don’t happen to me! Or anyone I know. Or to anyone near me. I’d rather stay asleep, under the covers. No tribulations, thank-you-very-much.

The only way to not worry about scary things is to live totally in the present. That’s a mighty tall order for humans capable of remembering, holding grudges, having goals and who live under the delusion that all we have belongs to us. It’s pretty much impossible.

Waiting Patiently © Jen Norton

Waiting Patiently

Animals are better at the practice of living in the present than we are.

Take my dog Patti, for example. Patti is a dog who was rescued from a backyard puppy mill. She was kept in a garage, used for breeding and then abandoned. She came to us with a lot of fear. She’s had her tribulations. Now, however, she’s living in a relative dog garden-of-eden. She doesn’t dwell on yesterday. She doesn’t worry about tomorrow. She only cares about two things:

1. Food

2. Who’s providing the food.

Like most dogs, Patti can often be found sound asleep, stretched across the couch, snoring away… But touch the can opener, turn on the stove or come through the door and she’s immediately up, bounding toward you in hopes of a dropped scrap or a bowl of tuna water. Patti lives in the present. She’s “awake” when her master shows up.

If only we could so easily be devoted to God. If only we could stay focused on 1. Love and 2. Who’s providing the Love. But alas, like a dog distracted by a piece of sausage, we once were tempted to step away from our natural state as “children of God” with a bite of apple. Now we have to remember to stay awake. We have to make a point of it. So much easier to fill ourselves up life’s “junk food” and ruin our appetite for God. But then the sugar high fades, and we fall asleep again. We go back to the dream that we’re ready. But we don’t know when we will be called to stand accountable or to breathe our last breath. We should be prepared at any moment. Bummer…I really did want to stay under those covers.

11 x 14 matted reproductions of this painting are available here.

4 Responses to Look Alive!

  1. Karen Wong November 29, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Jen, I’m very much enjoying your daily devotionals and paintings. I so appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. Really speaks to me…

  2. Munts Casamitjana November 30, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    I connect with the things you say about living in the present. I couldn’t express it better (cause my English :-). I really like the paint. Animals can teach many things to humans. Thanks Jen!

  3. Jo Ann Vasquez November 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Dear Jen,

    Perhaps you can remember the story of finding Patti and rescuing her.
    This act of compassion was undoubtedly followed by many individual acts of love and understanding often demanding unexpected care and attention.
    Our lives are filled with opportunities to help those who are suffering with
    spiritual hunger and poverty of spirit. Have we by-passed a Patti who has needed our loving glance and some warm pets? We can always turn around to see what we’ve missed in life.
    Jo Ann Vasquez


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