Saturday, May 15, 2010

Even though the day be laden

When I realized that I hadn't posted here since March 24, I couldn't quite figure out why, so I went back through those dates in my emails and on my calendar.

Since March 24,
I've celebrated Passover, Maundy Thursday, Easter—with extra choir rehearsals;
I've had my basement flood for the second time this spring, and cleaned it up;
I've led worship several times, preached and designed a service once;
along with colleagues, over the past two months, I wrote, edited and compiled a 650 page response to a state request for proposal on the agency's largest contract—a process that has to have been the most tedious thing I have ever done in my work life;
then I played catch up at work while interviewing to hire for a new position;
my mother has fallen twice and I've worried a lot;
my daughter has had some difficult things that fortunately she talks about with me, but almost always late at night;
we had a boil water order in our area for one weekend and part of the week because the metropolitan water supply line broke;
I've tried to get my yard into shape again after the winter.
That's a sampling…

In other words, I've been living a rather over-full life. I did make time for some intentional contemplation and centering. With all of this, though, I didn't have the energy to take my contemplations and reflections and turn them back around again into writing. That's okay. Sometimes, things need to simmer.

A thank you is in order to my friend, John B., for his recent Facebook posts for their inspiration, then:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God's mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

What a wonderful reminder today, when it is a lovely fresh and new spring morning.

John's second contribution was this poem that he said summarized his life just now (he's finishing seminary and has been organizing his papers and books).

At Fifty-Seven

By Mark Nepo on 05-14-2010

I feel like I stumbled
down a hill of years, only
to land in a pile of my books.

Along the way, I cracked
like a Russian doll; finding
something smaller and more
essential inside every version
I've known as me.

And now, when all I know
bursts into flame each time
I try to give it away, I'm asked
what matters.

There's something perfect
in how we're worn; like sculptures
left for Spirit and wind to finish, the
film taken from our eye just as
our heart is exposed, one
crumbling into the other.

John mentioned that you can subscribe to these postings here, so I did. Today as I was contemplating whether I should mop the kitchen floor, vacuum the rugs, mow the lawn, or do something else entirely (like write), I got a new posting, entitled My Messy House by Kathleen Norris, and this line struck me.

If the house is messy, they might have said, why not clean it up, why not make it into a place where God might wish to dwell?

God always dwells with us, and yet we need to make space and time to remember that. We need to clear out the clutter in our space, our lives, and our calendars to have room for what is truly important.

One thing I have held onto through all of the physical and mental labor of the last seven weeks is the spiritual and emotional assurance that God is always with us. My theme song during this time came from the Northumbria Community whom I first "met" via the book Celtic Daily Prayer. I had the book, but discovered their prayers are online, as is some of their music, and I ordered the music and recordings for Celtic Daily Prayer and Waymarks as an Easter present to myself. Their words and music have been the backbone of my contemplative practices these past weeks.

Even though the day be laden is from their Waymarks CD (also available as an mp3 download).

Even though the day be laden

and my task dreary

and my strength small,

a song keeps singing in my heart,

for I know that I am thine,

I am part of thee,

thou art kin to me,

and all my times,

all my times are in thy hands.

Sing that slowly and then work it up to jig tempo. May your tasks be lightened by song and by a reminder of God's ever present grace and love in your life today.

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