A Fly In A Margarita

Updated: May 29


It was first a text message about a sermon I preached on Pentecost Sunday, back in 2004. I honestly don’t remember the words of the sermon, but it appears to me, sixteen years later, that something about that sermon did hit a nerve and meant a lot to this parishioner whose daughter was baptized on that Sunday. The text message also alerted me to their intention to call. I quickly replied, and the call came in. We had a good laugh, catching up and reminiscing about life in Atlanta. We made plans to meet soon.


During our conversation, I asked about her daughter, and how she was doing. She is now seventeen years old, and at the beginning stages of dealing with the challenges of college applications. That reminded me of my daughter Havilynd, who turns seventeen years old today, and is also dealing with the nightmare of college applications.


I am very much aware that my daughter is growing into a beautiful young woman, but the reality of having a seventeen-year-old did not quite hit me until this past Monday. For those of you who have been part of the Morning Prayer livestreams since the lockdown, you might know that she has been the other voice, graciously waking up to help me. Many are the parishioners who have asked about that other voice and expressed appreciation for her waking up at 7:00 a.m. to be the other voice at Morning Prayer.

She has come a long way, and I often refer to her as a miracle baby who, but for a fly in a margarita, might have been aborted. It so happened that her mother, some friends, and I went to a restaurant in Atlanta for dinner. Not knowing that she was pregnant, Monique ordered a margarita, which came in a noticeably big glass. This is the strange part: when the margarita was served to Monique, and just before she put her mouth on the straw, she noticed a big house fly in the margarita. Wow!! How did that get in the drink? It was in the evening., the restaurant did not have open windows or doors, nor was there outdoor seating. We immediately called the server, who apologized profusely for the fly in the margarita. She also could not figure out how the fly got there. Then to my surprise, when the waiter told Monique she would fix another margarita for her, she said, "no." She only took water that evening.

It still remains a mystery how the fly got into the margarita. One thing we are certain of is that if Monique had had that margarita that evening, I am not sure that we will be talking about the other voice today. A cynic may respond that it was simply an accident and may not be able to offer a convincing response to why Monique decided not to have another drink. But I am not a cynic. I am a person of faith, and I look at the entirety of my life through the lens of faith. In my view, the best way that I can appreciate the curves of life and understand the little miracles that happens in my life is to notice the hand of Providence in every single little aspect and moment of my life - both good and bad. I believe that failure to do so means looking at only one side of the coin and acting as if the other side is nonexistent, or simply hearing your own voice and not the other voice.


A few days ago, a parishioner sent me a music video. I do not know the title to the music, but I’d like to share it with you:


Life is easy, when you are up on the mountain, and you have got peace of mind, like you have never known. But things change when you are down in the valley. Do not lose faith. For you are never alone.


For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He will make them right. And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God in the night.


You talk of faith when you are up on the mountain. But talk comes so easy when life’s at its best. Now its down in the valley of trials and temptations. That where your faith is really put to the test.


For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He will make them right. And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God in the night.


I share the words and the video, especially at this most perilous time of all our lives when we have lost over one hundred thousand of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones to COVID-19. Many more are those who have been stricken and are fighting for their lives. Many more are those who are exposed to being infected by the virus. But in all these, we are not to lose faith, for the God of the mountain is also the God of the valley, and the God of the good times is also the God of the bad times. And as Paul reminds us in his First Letter to the Thessalonians, Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

I rejoice in the fact that we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Some restrictions are being lifted tomorrow, and all things being equal we will soon be able to gather for worship. We are all working together and will provide further information as the days go by.


But for a fly in a margarita, there might not have been, nor might you have heard, that other voice over the past several weeks. You, yourself, also may have experienced a miracle in your life. I may not know how big or how small, but it is a miracle, nonetheless. We may not realize in the moment that a miracle occurs. But we may only see and feel the depth of our miracles only when we look back.


And when you look back like we did at those days following that dinner, may you also be filled with gratitude for the fly in your margarita. 


~Manny

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