Doing. Nothing. (Learning about Joy)

Doing. Nothing.

In case you wondered, I’m not very good at that. My first idea for this evening was to work at finishing a project which was meant to be a present (which will be done by Christmas NEXT year). Then I was going to bake cookies. My heartfelt response? MEH! 

The only thing that really appealed to me was… nothing.

I sat with my emotions for a while, trying to understand my inner processes. My brain is tired. And my heart is hurting for some of my flock. And I’m praying in anticipation for an answer… that hasn’t been revealed yet. In short, I’m out of sorts. Grumpy. A little preoccupied. Life is in “freeze-frame” and I don’t particularly like it.

This third week of Advent is supposed to be about Joy… and while I understand intellectually and personally what “joy” means, I’m having trouble “feeling” it. There’s enough sucky stuff in the world that is weighing me down. (Yes. I know “Joy is a choice, not a feeling.” And “Joy is a spiritual gift, not a state of mind.” I’ve preached the sermons and done the Greek. I’m being real, here.)

On my walk through the outdoor labyrinth at Dayspring last week, I looked down to see this:

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THIS is Joy. Not fireworks or helium balloons or a blast of trumpets (or whatever image that is your vision of Joy.)

Joy is this time of waiting and watching… believing and praying… trusting. And waiting some more.

Joy for me is often a whisper, a hint. It’s a gnat that you can’t quite catch. It’s a lightning bug that rises on a summer night and fades away. It’s the spark in the fireplace, popping and vanishing up the chimney.

Joy is wrapped in the Divine… but it is also trapped in our humanity. And that’s where I am struggling in Advent this year.

27 Notice how the lilies grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these.28 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, how much more will God do for you, you people of weak faith!29 Don’t chase after what you will eat and what you will drink. Stop worrying.30 All the nations of the world long for these things. Your Father knows that you need them.31 Instead, desire his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.   Luke 12: 27-31 CEB

Very funny, I.T. gremlins

It’s a busy week for everyone, this week before Christmas. And I had grand plans to stay AHEAD of the curve on my charting… but it was not to be. The IT gremlins decided to have a little fun.

This afternoon, my work laptop decided that it was on strike. Or something. Despite all of my usual tricks (hard reboot, remove the battery, yelling the seven words you can’t say on TV, and oh yes… praying… (I am a pastor. Occasionally I remember that I can pray. And, just like you, sometimes that’s not the first thing I do…)

Anyway, despair gave way to dark humor, and during the hour-plus I was on the phone with IT not getting my laptop fixed, I came up with this parody. (Apologies to all you IT folk out there… maybe.)

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~0——0~

On the first day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the second day of Christmas, I had to call IT,,
“What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the third day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the fourth day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the fifth day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the sixth day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“Pizza for dinner,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the seventh day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“Re-enter your password,
Pizza for dinner,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.

On the eighth day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“The servers are all crashing,
Re-enter your password,
Pizza for dinner,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the ninth day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“There is no solution,
The servers are all crashing,
Re-enter your password,
Pizza for dinner,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the tenth day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“Sorry I can’t help you,
There is no solution,
The servers are all crashing,
Re-enter your password,
Pizza for dinner,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“I’m not trained on SunCoast,
Sorry I can’t help you,
There is no solution,
The servers are all crashing,
Re-enter your password,
Pizza for dinner,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and
Please hold for the rep from IT.”

IMG_2696

On twelfth day of Christmas, I had to call IT,
“Where is the corkscrew?
I’m not trained on SunCoast,
Sorry I can’t help you,
There is no solution,
The servers are all crashing,
Re-enter your password,
Pizza for dinner,
FIVE minutes MORRRRRRRE?
Could your restart your router?
Reboot your computer,
What’s your ticket number? and…
Please hold for the rep from I…T…

Cross-posted: In the Quiet

Posted over at RevGalBlogPals:

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Lord,
in this waiting,
we stand in the silence,
surrounded by the faithful of today.
And the saints of old,
who watched and waited,
praised and prayed,
had visions and discouragements,
yet believed,
whisper to us on the winds of the Spirit,
“Wait… wait…”

May we put down deep roots
in this quiet witness
of time and place and holiness,
and hear Your call
to journeying
and waiting,
even now,
with hearts of hope and faith.

For we know, Divine One,
You shall build Your tabernacle among us
and You will be our God
and we will be Your people.
And yes,
we wait…
for You,
Holy One,
for You.

Amen.

 

How silently, how silently…

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My day at Dayspring Retreat Center was, again, full of beauty, stillness and peace. I forget  how much I enjoy the time in silence. The Divine speaks so loudly through Creation! The photos above capture some of the moments of our conversation…

In the chatter of the tree limbs banging one against another,
You are there.

In the whisper of the wild grasses, bending and dancing in the wind,
You are there.

In the utter silence on the path between the pines,
You are there.

In the muddled outlines of trees reflected on the pond,
You are there.

In the blooms of lichens and mushrooms,
You are there.

In all the twists and turns of the vines, and of my going out and coming in,
You are there.

My day in silence reminds me
That I know that I know that I know that I KNOW
You are there.

Blessed peace
Blessed quiet
Blessed silence

You are there.

 

In the in-between

Advent. That season in Christendom where we wait. Wonder. Yearn. Dream. Pray. And then, we live with the fact that we do not have the answers we so desperately long to hear.

It’s true in my Hospice work. Knowing that death is coming (or not). Wishing there were absolutes and clear prognostications (and being shocked or disappointed). Wondering “how much time…?” When we do not know, and can never know.

In times like this, in the in-between, God uses pictures and moments to remind me… that the Divine is intricately involved in my life. That my short life is cradled in the span of Infinite wisdom. That it’s in the waiting that God Calls and leads me.

Tonight I needed reassurance. I needed hope. I needed encouragement. I needed a reminder of my relational and caring God. And then, this song came across my desktop. It’s by Kina Grannis, and is called “In The Waiting”. I think it’s the official heart song for my Advent season this year. Take a listen… the video is as powerful as the lyrics.

May we each know peace and LIFE in the waiting…

O Come Emmanuel.

 
“I’ve been working on patience
trying to trust in the timing of my tiny existence
I come alive
I sat still in the twilight
I found peace in the quiet things
How could I wish away all the in between?


And all this time
Ive been staring at the minute hand
Oh what a crime
That I can’t seem to understand that life
Is in the waiting.”