I planned to make time for reflection, meditation and silence during this Lenten Season. I thought I would try harder to listen.
Rather, to this point, it has been filled with non-stop activity. Coming out of Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper success, I headed straight into the planning of an event for May – an event for which planning began far too late and with no funds.
Then there is planning for a Fish Fry…and praying over the Stations of the Cross – a very special one written by Katie Sherrod. If you have not read it or participated in it, the book is called "Women of the Passion A Journey to the Cross." It is available through Amazon.
Plus, Integrity. I have neglected my duties as a regional vice president for Integrity terribly. So many things left undone right in this time where so much needs to be done. By the way, have you contributed to the Anaheim Appeal? It is vitally urgent.
Add to all of that, a tween soon to be teen in the throes of puberty. May God have mercy on him and us.
Sundays are rush, rush full of work. Hardly worshipful, much less reflective or meditative. Were it not for moments of Morning Prayer or the twice per week Noonday Prayer, I do not know that God would get more than a very brief offering.
Last evening, in an attempt to fulfill a commitment made, I did attend a Taize Evening Prayer, although I missed the first fifteen minutes. In that small area, with a cappella chants, candles, icons and almost quiet, the vision of anchoress, monk, hermit, recluse crept into my mind's eye. I could feel the power of renewal…almost. Had I been alone or made certain that I had that one hour devoted to prayer, where might the Spirit have led me?
Quite a few years ago, I gave up giving up stuff for Lent. It just seemed to me to be a moot point to give up chocolate, beer or tofu burgers (already a veggie) for a set period of time. If I deemed chocolate (or other things) to be sinful enough that I need to abstain from these for 40 days, then maybe I should give these up for good. If my overindulgence was harmful, why do it at all?
Instead, I have tried to find ways in which I need to make change in my life . I thought I would refrain from over indulging in anything but I have failed miserably. I thought I would make certain I took a period of time where I read or prayed or just sat still. There is so much to do – how can I sit still?
A friend asked me just this morning what in the world was I thinking when I took on this Flower Festival. Without thinking about it, I said, "I don't think anymore; I just follow."
The answer was tossed out there nonchalantly. But thinking about it, it is sort of profound.
I don't think much anymore. I just act. If I think about all this stuff I am doing and the fact that I do not have a job, I would stop everything and act on my logic. But is anything about God logical?
Another person suggested that my enthusiasm clouded my judgment. Perhaps he is right. But judging is something that I have been trying to eliminate from my life for a long time. Maybe I am being foolish in believing that through God all things are possible. That is certainly not a logical statement. Yet, I will be an enthusiastic fool for God…not that God might think me a fool. I am not here to be a judge; I am here to be a faithful witness to God's absolutely indescribably grace and love.
Having worked in event planning for 10 years and with volunteers for more than 15, I know that there is no way on earth that the Flower Festival can be pulled off. I know that having never done a Fish Fry for public and parish that we are working against all odds for a success. The "Women of the Passion" belongs solely to the Holy Spirit so I don't have to worry about that one. My good sense tells me that the church at large and parishes in general, regardless of how "gay-friendly" they may claim to be, are just not ready to see marriage as inclusive of gays and lesbians.
All of that (except the passion part) is about people thinking they know what things are all about. It's about them relying on their own judgment. Talk about clouded judgment… as a friend just said, "I think I might have told him to not let his judgment cloud my enthusiasm." I said, "Amen."
I am working in my church, doing the work that is set before me, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, knowing that all things I do (deemed foolish or otherwise) I do for the Glory of God simply because I can. I CAN. I am allowed to do so. I am working in the church. And I am happy.
So, yes, as has happened to me so many times in the past and probably to many other people as well, I have failed miserably at what I set out to do in preparation for this period of reflection and radical change. But I, living in my clouds, realized that I am not thinking about worldly things…I am just doing the tasks that I see before me, realizing that the Spirit is working in me and around me and pray to God, through me.
All to God the Glory. All Praise to God. And as my grandmother would say – Thank you, Jesus.
Please, God, cloud my judgment always.