Public Service Announcement: Look before you drink! Don’t ever take a drink out of a coffee mug that has been sitting beside you on the table outside without first looking into said coffee mug. If you do take an unwary drink, several possible outcomes could occur.

Allow me to elaborate. Scenario: You realize halfway through taking a swig of coffee that you have a bug in your mouth. You then have four options. 1) In the ensuing panic, you accidentally swallow the bug. 2) You spit the bug out neatly onto the deck beside you and thank your lucky stars that you didn’t swallow the bug. 3) You realize too late to spit out the bug neatly to the side and in the ensuing panic you a) spit the bug and the coffee all over yourself or b) spit the bug and the coffee all over your laptop.

There remains one last outcome. The one that is the least likely to happen: 4) You get a nice drink of coffee.

(Note: Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.)

So it’s been a good morning thus far. I woke up around 6 a.m. thinking it was raining. I then proceeded to lie there debating if I should close the window or not, decided it wasn’t raining after all, almost fell back asleep, then was told by the cat outside that now would be a good time to come inside. I then tossed and turned for 45 minutes, wasting what would have been good writing time and finally gave in, got up, and proceeded to waste my time watching the news.

By the time I remembered that I’d made myself a cup of coffee — after my husband had helpfully offered to bring it to me when he saw it on the counter and I’d foolishly rejected his kindness — it was stone cold. I proceeded to heat it in the microwave, at which point the doorbell rang and I’d totally forgotten about the assessor stopping by (right on schedule) and I was still in my yoga pants.

(Cue wide-eyed look of horror.)

After he left, I went outside with my laptop and my coffee. I waved to a boat. (Thankfully my yoga pants were hidden by the table.) I puzzled for a couple of minutes about what to write. I may or may not have spat out my coffee in a good or a bad location. And then theological inspiration hit. In the guise of that stupid gnat lurking in my coffee.

You just never know what will inspire, do you?

You see, God ties into everything. My daughter laughed out loud the other night while reading a post on social media, posted by her Bible Camp counselor. It seems that the campers are asked to evaluate their camping experience, including their counselors. One camper wrote something like this: “I liked my counselor a lot. It just seemed a little weird that she connected everything to God. Even the cabin’s air conditioning.”

Oh, how I love that counselor! She gets it! Everything, everything, can connect us to God. Anything can inspire a theological thought. Even air conditioners. Even bugs.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron, “Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,” and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.’” Exodus 8:16 NIV

You see? There’s even a verse about gnats. (A verse that inspires me to be very thankful that I wasn’t alive back then. Just think of the bugs in their coffee! Actually, they probably didn’t even have coffee. Which is even worse.)

Inspiration is everywhere. We just have to have our eyes open to see it.



Gretchen O’Donnell is a freelance writer who lives in Worthington with her husband and three children. She has a master’s degree from Bethel Seminary and enjoys writing about the things she sees and applying theological truths to everyday situations. Her column, The Disheveled Theologian, is published weekly. Her email is gcodon@gmail.com.