Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

One-Hundred-Percent Coverage

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Sometimes the little things catch our attention, opening a window on a wider topic or point of view. (Sometimes that process also takes us along some unexpected twists and turns!) That happened for me this past week, after I spoke with our insurance company and learned that, here in Arizona, we will have 100% coverage for the window glass on our cars. This was how auto insurance coverage worked when we lived in Massachusetts, but in New Mexico there was a significant deductible for our auto glass coverage—with the same company! I am grateful to be returning to “complete coverage,” given the number of rocks that have hit our windshields over the past decade. While not all of those rocks have caused cracks or holes that had to be repaired, it happened often enough to leave me frustrated.

Another piece to this attention puzzle is a pair of small spiritual poetry books that I edited this past week. The author was reflecting on solitary time in a wilderness canyon, and I found myself captured, over and over, by how her reflections began with a single moment or idea and expanded to cover enormous swaths of both internal and external territory. I have had other work clamoring for my attention, but found myself putting these books first because I wanted to return to the many gifts she was offering, spawned by deep, intentional prayer time spent in a silent, sacred place.

Complete coverage. The concept caught my attention on a variety of levels. Cell phone companies tout their coverage maps, but none of them promise coverage for every place in the country, much less our world. Floodwaters in the Midwestern US are currently wreaking havoc, spreading polluted waters indiscriminately, without regard for maps or boundaries. The poet whose work I’m editing wrote eloquently about how rain-generated floodwaters were violently reshaping canyon landscapes and noted, “We will need to redraw the maps.”

Our awareness coverage of our own landscapes, external and internal, is patchy at best. In fact, a patchwork attention-quilt feels like a good metaphor for how we live our lives. For example, while at work in my office in rural New Mexico, my attention was most often diverted by the weather rolling across the mountains and the wildlife flying or traipsing through our yard. Here in suburbia, my attention is now captured by the sound of airplanes, souped-up truck engines, and children walking home from school. Nature is still present, of course, but my patchwork attention is now being diverted.

God does not hand out updated maps, because God’s coverage is total. There is nothing that happens outside of the boundaries of grace and love. That doesn’t mean that “bad” things don’t happen; it means instead that grace and love form a solid blanket of complete coverage, over everything, in the midst of everything, whether it be polluted floodwaters in the drenched Midwest or an abundance of precious rain redrawing water channels in the parched desert.IMG_1671

However, at some level, we must pay attention. We must request God’s coverage in order to open ourselves to receive the full benefit. When the rocks of life, flung at us by passing experiences, cause cracks and holes in the fragile glass framing our lives, we must call upon our Creator, whose coverage is complete and unsurpassed. Whether it’s a quick cry of desperation as we reach out for someone being swept away by floodwaters or a more measured prayer for perspective in the midst of despair or loss, we are covered. We need only to reach out.

Are you reaching out, in prayer, in some way, amidst the varied experiences in your life? Are you trusting in that complete coverage of grace and love? How might you, in this new year, make a new commitment to expanding your patchwork attention and embracing God’s complete coverage?

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