Like Smoke Rising
These days have been very cold, very cold. About fifty feet from the hospital (where I work) is a glass shelter. In the shelter there is one long bench, some kind of lightening fixture and in the winter, there are lights mounted close to the top of the structure that provide heat. It serves as kind of a warming house for smokers.

The last couple of days, I have noticed a few souls making their pilgrimage to this smoking shelter. The structure doesn’t have a door per se which allows the smoke a way to leave…not having a door also allows the cold to come in. It was striking to me to watch the smokers standing up on the bench so they could be closer to the heat and a little distance from the cold floor. Viewing this scene caused me to pause and wonder what it would take for me to go outside when the temperatures are 10-15 degrees below zero, without the wind chill.

Certainly there is a piece of addiction connected to the choice and for some there are multiple reasons for a distance from whatever story is happening for them within the confines of the hospital, but my mind didn’t stay on those thoughts very long. Instead I wondered if my passion, my desire for God’s closeness in my life was as strong as the smokers for a smoke.

Are there any situations or circumstances in my life that push me beyond my everyday patterns of a short prayer here and there, moments of God awareness to a way of being that I would brave the cold of unfamiliarity to encounter the Almighty? What circumstances in my life take me from the comfortable, and the easy to climb into the awesome presence of the Sacred?

I have to wrestle with these questions, since the other day they have been my smoke rising up…