Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This is the Day

As unfocused and restless as I was yesterday, today I feel the opposite. I woke up about 5:45 this morning and felt propelled out of bed. I do want to enter this day feeling present to it. Aware of the years I have already put into this endeavor, aware of the passion I bring to the subject, aware that I have been blessed by my communities of faith to pursue liturgical studies from a free-church perspective. I want to be open to improvements that the Area may suggest today. I want to be able to defend my proposal without getting defensive. I want to feel the weight of this day without feeling crushed or intimidated by it.

At orientation, the Dean shared a TS Eliot quote with us that I have found very meaningful throughout my time here:

Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to sit still.

That is the spirit with which I want to live into this day. I used to be better about carrying that stillness with me, when I was in spiritual direction. Now, I find there is much more of a humming energy to everything, the restlessness I felt yesterday. The busy-ness of academic life, its aquisitiveness, does not lend itself to stillness very well.

But I remember learning, while in spiritual direction, that stillness is carried within. It's always there. I remember learning to recognize what I used to call "surfacing"--when I would come too close to the surface, I would feel the disruption and lose a sense of peacefulness. Funny, this had to do with wind, too. I began to learn it while lying in a hammock on Cape Cod. The wind was blowing wildly that day, too. But unlike yesterday's wind, this time it was high up, only in the tops of the trees, swaying them furiously. Where I was, down in the hammock, everything was calm.

I thought of this yesterday, actually. Because I noticed that the wind was blowing at the very tops of the palm trees (they're astoundingly tall) as well as on the ground, with strong enough gusts to kick over parked motorcycles!

The memory of the wind on Cape Cod that October (1998!) has ever since been an image for me of a life centered in prayer. When you are centered, you can perceive the wind, God's spirit moving, the life-giving as well as the violent disruptions and energies ever-present in life. But you are able to exist in the midst of it with a sense of giftedness, wellness, wholeness, peace.

I don't live a life centered in prayer right now, though. So the image beckons me. Even this, I recognize, is gift.

I think this time, going back to P. reminded me a little of who I am. And I think I can carry that into my day today.

This is the day.

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