By Deacon John De Gano
Hot Dog carts come in all shapes and sizes.
The other day while driving home I had the opportunity to reflect on this fact while Cheryl photographed a mobile hot dog cart being towed along by its owner.
Of course, this cart pales in size and campiness when put alongside of the classic Oscar Meyer Wiener mobile which, oddly enough, we happened upon while driving along the freeway in the Moreno Valley area a few years ago...
Are we just fortunate to have had these two experiences or were they part of God’s mysterious plan, a plan that was set in motion long before there were hot dogs or even buns to put them on?
Reflecting on this, I couldn’t help but wonder what other oddities of nature or man-made contraptions have others been privileged to observe that we have not? The world is a marvelous place and the wonder of God’s creativity is vastly under-credited.
We readily think of a few examples, such as the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Valley with its iconic waterfall and Half Dome, and then seemingly revert ‘untouched’ to our myopic view of the world as all drudgery and uninspiring.
Is that really the world God intended for us to ‘steward’? Shouldn’t we yearn for more inspiration in our lives?
The Garden of Eden was a place of light, gentle breezes, lush flora and so many animals that Adam had to name them all in order to keep them straight in his own mind. And think how tasty must the apple have looked for Eve to have so readily succumbed to the temptation placed before her by the snake, that wily devil.
We forget that God called us to be co-creators with him, not merely stewards of the land, and so we should be creating beauty all around us. Whether it be through gardening, landscaping, art and music, we have the ability to add to the wonder and awe of this planet we call home.
One year ago, Cheryl and I adopted a kitten. That may not seem like such an earthshaking event, but it has made all the difference in the life of this feline and, truth be told, has brought unbridled joy into our lives, as well.
Felicity is quite a character. We never know what she will do next. Named after the martyred teenage saint (companion of St. Perpetua) she prefers to be a shoulder cat, leaping up at the most unexpected times to ride aloft as we navigate the premises we call our mutual home.
She is an environmental artist, ‘creating’ works of art from the clothes she drags out of the laundry basket and into her ‘studio space’ in the upstairs hallway. And she is very affectionate, demanding our full attention when it’s time for a scratch of her head or chin. She also monitors our computer time and parks herself solidly on top of the keyboard between us and the computer screen when it’s time to stop work and pay attention to her and her every need.
Which, of course, we do!
Her presence in our lives is a constant reminder to us of God’s great desire for us to recognize his abiding presence in our lives and the challenge to grow in love and to love unconditionally.
What will you do today to bring God’s wonder and awe into the eyes of your loved ones? Your friends and neighbors? Or the world?
God calls us to be co-creators of beauty (and love) with him. We may have different gifts and different artistic sensibilities (How boring the world would be if everyone were the same!) but we all share the same Holy Spirit.
And like a hot dog cart rolling along the street, we, too, can bring ‘red hot’ excitement with us wherever we go. We just need to embrace our inner creativity and let beauty shine forth.
John De Gano is a deacon at St. Catherine of Alexandria parish in Riverside.