Beauty… Chocolate… and the Word of God.  What in the world could they all have in common?  Read on…

Last month my sister, LuAnn, and niece Lily came to visit me from New York.  It was such a treat!  On the ride in from the airport, Lily (10 years old, going on 20) began telling a story to John and me.  Five minutes into it she stopped and said, “Now I forgot the main thing I was going to say.” I told her she much way to young to start having that happen… at 10 years old, to which she replied, “I know… but it happens all the time because my intros are way too long!”

What can I say; the gift of gab runs in them fam.  So do “long intros”.  Let me warn you that this blog has a long intro… but there is a point.

Last weekend I was out running errands with two of my girl friends, Mary and Lila (the sisters). I had turned a corner in my chemo cycle and was feeling good enough to venture out to get some things done and have lunch, so the sisters came to pick me up on a rainy Saturday afternoon and off we went to run errands.  At NorthPark Center.

OK, that is a partial lie. Or a partial truth; whichever way you choose to see it. I’m talking about the “errand” part.

We actually went to Neiman Marcus at NorthPark for their annual Beauty Event – where you buy cosmetic items that you simply cannot live without (cha-ching) in order to get a free tote bag that is the “must have” of the season, filled with lots of free stuff that you didn’t know you needed but now realize you also cannot live without.  In addition to this tote bag gift, each of your favorite cosmetics and fragrance counters offers their own special gift with purchase (cha-ching, cha-ching).  This event far surpasses the standard “gift-with-purchase” that has lured women to cosmetics counters for years.  It truly is an…. event! From the moment you set foot in the cosmetics department, you are wooed by consultants eager to slather you with a potion that is guaranteed to take 15 years off your face; you’re enticed to undergo a complimentary facial if you’ll spend three figures in products from their exclusive line; and you’re threatened to be spritzed with the latest scent that will surely renew your mind and spirit… and transform you into a goddess.  It takes true grit and determination to make it trough the gauntlet of cosmetics Sirens unscathed… and unsprayed.  So, you see, it was much more than simply “running errands”.  It was an event.

I’m struck by this term “Beauty Event”.  Since when did beauty become an event?  However, I must say that I find myself in a season of life where even the attempt to simply look good (sans hair and a some eyelashes) has become an event for me lately.  So I really did need to attend THE event at NM to stock up on things like face cream and very emollient body lotions to nourish my increasingly dry skin (thank you, chemo).  And since I’m trying to enhance the several remaining eyelashes I have (also thanks to chemo), I thought I needed to purchase a mascara product that would show them off.  To my amazement I discovered a mascara called “Dior Show”.  Aha!  Just what I needed… for way too much money!  But after all I am undergoing chemo, am losing my lashes and I need all the help I can get!  And we all know that eyelashes really do make the woman! Perhaps this is my pathetic attempt to justify my “errand running” and my purchase.  Purchases!

I’m digressing.

On our way into the event, a lovely display of chocolates, strategically located just outside the entrance to the NM cosmetics department, sidetracks friend Lila.  Friends, this is not your average “candy counter” but a chocolate boutique. Specifically a truffle boutique, displaying their prized truffles much like fine jewelry, in lovely, padded, hinged boxes.  Exquisite.  So, being the authentic (and exquisite) woman that she is, Lila stopped for chocolate.  Love that about her.  Love it more that she bought Mary and me some!  Lila rocks!

Let me just say that candy and cosmetics have come a very long way from Hershey’s Bars and Cover Girl.  I was eager to enjoy my truffles when I got home.  I opened the beautiful packages to discover 4 lovely, tiny (teeny tiny) truffles inside the faux velvet lined box looking very much like jewels.  A card and brochure accompanied the truffles explaining that due to the fine, pure and fresh ingredients, these truffles should be consumed (enjoyed) within 5-7 days.  No problem.

Each of the 4 truffles had a name and a description about the flavor and origin of the chocolate in each.  I’m confused here; doesn’t all chocolate come from Hershey, Pennsylvania?  Nope.  This was “rare” and very fine chocolate as the brochure explained in detail.  About to dive into my first truffle I was stopped by the “Philosophy” of cacao (aka chocolate) in the brochure and the 7-step “Optimal Tasting Guide” – with the secret to experiencing the most exotic and flavorful cacao journey…”   Hmm… Specific directions on how to eat chocolate?  Who knew?  OK, I’m 51 and have been eating chocolate since I could chew.  I thought I knew how to eat it: peel off the wrapper and devour.  Pretty simple and straight forward.  Not so much for the truffles.  So, wanting to get the most out of my “experience” I read through the guide:

1) Be present – Breathe deeply to clear your mind and immerse yourself in the present moment. (Please. Where else would I be?)

2) Excite Your Palate – by reading through the flavor profiles… (OK, whatever.)

3) Admire its Beauty (Really.)

4) Did You Hear it? – As you break open the chocolate you should hear a clear, crisp snap.  (What?)

5) Explore the Aroma – Breathe deeply through the nose to capture the intriguing aromas! (This is feeling more like yoga class than eating chocolate.)

6) Time to Taste (Finally!) Continue the journey by placing a small piece of chocolate in your mouth and letting it melt…

7) Feel it (Feel it?  too late!  Already swallowed it!)

Chalk that one up to another new experience!  Ask me how long it took to polish off the remaining 3?  They were de-lish!

Beauty Event and Chocolate Event… all in one day!!

And this brings me to a my point~

If only we embraced the great event of being with God in His Word daily, and really took the time to savor the moment with Him.  How different would our lives be?

So often I open up the “living and active” Word of God (Hebrews 4:12) not even thinking through the magnitude of what I hold in my hands.  I do so want Him to speak to me, but so often I breeze quickly through a passage as the Sirens of the world call out.

I’m reminded in II Timothy 3: 16 that, “All Scripture is God-breathed…” it’s the very breath of God; each and every time I open up the Bible it’s as if He is performing some kind of spiritual CPR to revive my heart, mind and spirit afresh with Him.  I want to breathe His Word in deeply!

The least I could is “be present”, stop and think through Who it is I’m about to talk to and that the God of Wonders desires to have intimate fellowship with me!

I could slow down long enough to “admire His beauty” – remembering all that He is and all that He’s accomplished on my behalf.  I never want to lose my awe of Him!

Instead of just reading through His Word, I could really take the time to “hear it” (Luke 8:8)… listen to Him, and let His Truth penetrate into my heart and mind to transform me (Romans 12:2).

And though it sounds a bit odd, yes, I can actually have the experience of tasting His goodness (Psalm 34:8).  The prophet, Jeremiah, wrote, When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty” (Jeremiah 15:16)

There are so many other things I devour in the course of a day; things that are not spiritually nutritious or satisfying to my soul.  Empty calories, you might say.  Moses wrote, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).  What a great way to start off the day; filled up and satisfied in all my empty places… with Him.

I pray that we would each take the time to enjoy being in the presence of the One and Only… and enjoy Him.  I love John Piper’s spin on the Westminster Confession of Faith, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever!”

Friends, He is so much more than an event… He is THE GREAT EVENT… THE GREAT ADVENTURE of life.  I pray to slow down long enough to thoroughly enjoy the journey with Him!

Making the most of now…