This day has given me much to ponder, from start to end. During my morning prayer time, I read the meditation that accompanies the Sunday mass readings. Towards the end of it, these words by Kelly Bourke touched a chord within: To follow Jesus, we must let go of the idea that we know everything that should happen, and let grace lead our way. Let us find ways to remain open to plans bigger than our own. These past few weeks have raised all sorts of questions for me. The intensity of life, both the best and the worst of times, has me trying to stand on a strong foundation with my hands open but I appear to have lost my balance on several attempts and pushed grace out of the way, unwilling to concede that Someone may have plans bigger than my own.
God has somehow lost first place in my life for a few months now. Not consistently but more often than I would like. Today was a day of God asking me to follow Jesus and remain open. I cannot tell you all that happened today but I will highlight a couple of situations. For awhile now, I have had a desire arise to discover what it is God is asking me to do with these remaining months. I have tasked others to pray, but I have not. The Holy One is not to be deterred though. Time and again the vision is placed before me and I ignore it. I am unsure why, though I could use as an excuse my weariness. Over these weeks, I have had two friends offer me a space to write. I have had several people tell me how my blog posts move and inspire them. I have had a couple tell me I must write a book about my faith experiences and, by the way, the husband offered to edit it, something he does. Today, though God decided to use more of a bombshell since I seemed to be ignoring the whisper. My Muslim friend said I should write a Daily Bread sort of book. I suspect I can no longer ignore the task that seems to be placed in front of me.
What I know about the Trinity is that they are extremely jealous. They long for us to be wholly theirs. I have not been lately and for that I am sorry. Tonight, as I entered the door of my church for mass my infidelity to my Beloved was made clear. I arrived one minute before the procession started–very unlike me. The pastor happened to be opening the inner door for some reason, and he looked up at the person in front of me and then me, and welcomed us in. A surge of energy went through me for some reason. The rest of the mass is hard to explain but I will try. A former colleague of mine who is rather shy, showed up two minutes after me, and motioned if he might sit with me. I nodded. That is a first for us. He is someone who rarely interrupts the crowd of people who gather around me at the end of mass and yet he likes to stay on top of how best to pray for me. He is a very holy man whose presence these past two years have been a blessing. During the recessional song, one of our members who suffers from mental illness came up to us and announced that we should be boyfriend and girlfriend, loudly several times. My former colleague was sweet about it and later, after the music stopped, I said, So boyfriend….. We laughed.
The readings and the songs were powerful but I had been distracted during the Gospel about something coming up this week. As the pastor started the homily, I became riveted though. This is for me, I thought. Pay attention. He spoke of how as a child, being holy was not cool. His parents were ridiculed for attending daily mass upon their retirement but they held fast; they did not push Grace out of the way. The Psalm refrain had already alerted me to my desire: My soul thirsts for you, O Lord, my God. Yes, I thought as I sang the words. While the pastor spoke of our desire for wholeness and holiness, I could feel tears well up in my eyes. This was what I was being asked to do. Find God again in new ways after clinging desperately to the Divine for so long during treatment. Find God in all things, at all times. Yoke myself to my Beloved in a new way. Put the Trinity first once again and be attentive to what is being asked of me.
This past week I spoke to the priest who will say my funeral. He gave me a precious gem that I have returned to often. While the funeral is important, the dying is much more so. How I die sends a message. The planning that my friends and I are doing around this excites me as odd as that may appear. I want to die well and I want to know that it is the arms of my Beloved who will receive me. This means that I must begin to get more serious about spending time in the Holy Presence again.
We sang tonight a song that I know well, based on a psalm–as a deer longs for running streams so my soul longs for you. This brought tears again. This is exactly the desire I need to embrace again. The pastor ended his homily with a line from a song that will be sung at my funeral: the beautiful L’Arche Hymn with the words that I will praise Jesus as long as I live. The song has long been a comfort and a summary of my life. Singing even just one line tonight was a reminder of what I have always longed for in life–to serve my God, to sing praises, that Jesus is my life and my love, and that I want my life to reflect that. Courage will come at the sound of those sacred footsteps by my side.
As I returned to my pew after the Eucharist, I knelt down and another song that I want to have at my funeral called Rest began. God restores my soul and gives me rest but asks a closer walk than what I have been doing lately. The day seemed to whisper to me, come and find rest in me; I am waiting for you. I have not been so moved by a mass in a long time. From the pastor’s welcome, to sitting with my holy boyfriend, to the songs and words, God had finally wooed me back. I trust in the hands that hold me. I must let go of the idea that I know everything that should happen and let Grace lead the way for me. I must find ways to remain open to plans bigger than my own. These are holy days and I must keep my eyes on what is being asked of me. Being holy may not be cool, but it is my choice. May Grace take me by the hand and lead me on.
How can you let go of your plans and let Grace led the way to the bigger plans being asked of you?
When has God needed to woo you back to holiness?
Holy One, seduce me back into your arms. Allow Grace to lead me to the bigger, more than I can ask or imagine plans that you have for me. Let me discern distractions as they arise and seek out what should happen within the plans you have for me. Keep my eyes open to you as you nudge relentlessly and wrap me in your loving arms, demanding a closer walk with thee. Lead me on, Beloved. I am ready. Amen.