“. . . started grumbling . . .”
“One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus,  the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, ‘This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!’”(Luke 15:1-2)
All I wanted was a simple picture of a graceful black swan.  What I got was a series of shots of a beautiful black swan cavorting in the water and showering herself with glistening beads of water as she thrashed her wings like paddles to her sides.
I suspect she was either using the water to wash off pesky parasites, or maybe just cooling herself.  And then again, maybe she was just playing.  Either way, I didn’t get the photo I wanted but I certainly enjoyed the show.  I could have complained about not getting the shot I wanted, but instead I thought to myself, “I wonder what that was all about for the swan?”  It didn’t work for me and fit with my plans but it certainly worked for the swan.
I thought about this experience on my way home from a speaking engagement yesterday (the reason this week’s Wednesday Wonderings is Thursday’s something or others.)  I was on my way back from speaking about teen depression at a combined middle and high school.  I gave the first presentation to all the high-schoolers.  Then I gave a presentation to all the middle-schoolers.  The high-schoolers couldn’t have been more attentive and well-mannered.  The middle-schoolers – well let’s just say they took a little more coaxing to stay on task.

It would have been easy for me to have complained about the middle-schoolers’ behavior just like the Jewish leaders complained about Jesus.    “Hey, he’s eating with sinners!  What’s the deal?  That doesn’t work for us and our way of thinking!”  Instead, I found myself thinking, “I wonder what all that fidgeting and jabbering does for them?”  I guess it helps them get through a very difficult and awkward time in their lives. I’m not sure all it does for them but I know it serves some purpose. All that wondering helps me be more generous and patient instead of irritated and judgmental, not just with fidgeting, jabbering middle-schoolers but also with others who don’t act in ways that meld with my agenda. I find it’s always important to wonder . . .

God must do a lot of grace-filled wondering with me because I’m sure my wanderings are not always according to plan.  I pray that God will help me gracefully wonder with others when their actions don’t meet my plans and agenda.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on November 21, 2013.

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