I wasn’t happy when I realized I’d be writing on the opening verses of Genesis this week. After all, what in the world can one say about the creation story, the story we’ve heard time and time again? The story we all know by heart. What more can be said about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the land and the sea, the separation of light and darkness?
That’s what I assume. Until, that is, I pass the lady with the blue-rimmed glasses on the running path. And then I know. Right there under the hot Nebraska sun, I understand.
The man with the military-style cropped hair and the plaid shirt always smiles as we amble in opposite directions. “Have a good one,” he’ll say, his hand outstretched in a generous wave.
The Ernest Hemmingway look-alike, an older gentleman with a full white beard, his t-shirt tucked into his shorts, always waves hello, too. His eyes crinkle like Santa Claus when he smiles.
When I pass the mom laboring behind the double stroller we smile at each other, she heading south, I north.
But the speed-walker in the cobalt blue-rimmed glasses? She never says hello. No wave. No nod. No smile. No greeting. We pass each other four mornings a week, and every time I extend a “Good morning!” or a smile, she offers nothing in return. Eyes on the horizon, arms pumping, she is silent. It’s as though I am not there.
Call it a Holy Spirit nudge or maybe just plain stubbornness, but I vow to greet the woman in the blue-rimmed glasses every time I see her, forever, whether she responds or not. I will smile, I resolve. I will greet her cheerfully. I will look her in the eye. And I do. Day after day, week after week. All summer long I greet the silent woman. She never so much as turns my way.
Until, one morning, she does.
I approach the lady in the blue-rimmed glasses from behind. “Good morning!” I chirp, glancing at her steely profile out of the corner of my eye as I pass on her left. Sliding into the lane a few steps ahead of her, we move in single file.
And that’s when I hear her. “Have a good day,” she murmurs softly to my back. It’s not an energetic greeting. I barely catch it as the distance between us widens. And when I turn over my shoulder to smile, she doesn’t smile back. But still. The lady in the blue-rimmed glasses speaks. We connect.
When God created light he made the sun that sets over the field of South Dakota sunflowers and the moon that rises over the rise paddy in Vietnam. When God created light he made the stars that fill the infinite sky and the comets that streak through the galaxies. But he never intended for that light to be limited to the skies above. When God created light, he placed that light in us, in man and woman, so that we, too, would shine like the sun and the moon and the stars as we walk this earth.
I don’t know why the lady in the blue-rimmed glasses offered that stoic greeting last Wednesday on the trail. For all I know, she’ll never utter another greeting again. But I do know this: her four simple words had me smiling for the rest of the day. She and I, we had the light. She and I were shining like the sun.
Questions for Reflection:
Have you ever thought about how the creation verses in Genesis might be applicable to our lives in the here and now? You have the light of God in you – the question is: how are you going to use it?
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