That REO Speedwagon song came to my mind last night as we attended the last Lenten session on Transforming Stewardship at St. Paul’s Carondelet. It was just one of those things – the lyrics for the most part had absolutely nothing to do with anything. We were sharing our stories of moving from the Wilderness into the chaos of Jerusalem. My particular sharing had to do with the fact that I have felt as though I have been in the chaos of Jerusalem for some time now.
With the idea of Wilderness, I think of wandering, searching, contemplation, and just a great unknown. With two grandkids living with us, two jobs, one senior soon to leave off into his own journey, and far too many commitments, I don’t have time to wander, search or contemplate anything. My daily routine is known. I get up, I shout Hurry Up!! numerous times each morning, jump in the car and race kids to schools, rush off to the job of the day, do the required things there, rush off to pick up kids at whatever location they may be at that day, then rush home to fix dinner and whatever there might be to do there. Then I collapse in bed. I don’t wander from task. I have no time to search. And whatever contemplation might happen occurs normally about 3:30 am when I am awakened by those “things left undone”.
Prayer comes in odd times: The New Zealand Compline at the end of the day as I am ready to pass out, at Trinity Food Ministry when a patron asks me to pray for or with them; in the car as I am driving down the streets of St. Louis City; when I am so tired I can barely move.
I “take it on the run, baby.” It’s not the way I want it but that’s the way I got it.
I used to hope that one of these Lenten times, I will go into full contemplative mode. But I am not sure that will ever happen. I understand what Paul meant when he talked about relationships. Relationship with one person is not that much of a detriment to a contemplative life. I could do both. But to increase that relationship to include children, grandchildren, a certain self-induced poverty – there are daily requirements that disallow more than a meager amount of moments to contemplate anything other than what there is to cook for dinner that evening. It becomes a full blown struggle to follow what I perceive to be the path that Jesus walked.
My faith is no less; in fact, it might be stronger. Some days it is the only thing upon which I can rely. But as for any type of prayer, contemplation or study?
I take it on the run, baby. Welcome to Jerusalem.