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Spending the day with a houseful of living souls

by davesandel on August 25th, 2021

Wednesday, August 25, 2021                                     (todays lectionary)

Spending the day with a houseful of living souls

Where can I go from your spirit?

At 7 am I walked in the doors of Christie Clinic in Champaign, thinking that, by my own schedule, I was late. But at the fourth floor blood lab the lights were out, and I was the first one there. About 7:15 a nurse began the lights on. She greeted me from behind her mask. “We open at 7:30,” she said. “And you will be the first patient today.”

So I had 30 minutes of unexpected peace. I sat quietly, I wrote a few haiku, I listened to the background buzz of electricity, I listened for the sound of silence, which is often, as Elijah discovered in 1 Kings 19, the sound of God. By 7:30, four other patients were in line behind me.

If I go up to the heavens, you are there,

If I sink into the depths of the sea, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

If I settle on the far side of the sea, still even there your hand shall guide me,

Your right hand will hold me fast.

I guess, well actually I know, that at times I didn’t want God’s constant presence or God’s vigilant watch over me … at least I didn’t think I did. That desire to get away has mostly been a long time gone. Now I’m grateful that regardless of the reception I offer Her, God is there.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,

And the light become night around me,”

Even the darkness will not be dark to you.

The night will shine like the day,

For darkness is as light to you.

I don’t see God, but God sees me. So then darkness is the better teacher in my life. Believe it, David. Do not be afraid. Stop demanding that God give you what you want and just sit there in the cloud of unknowing. Then you can “unknow” your small concepts of God and try on some bigger ones that involve suffering and living for God instead of asking God to live for me. In this way, the generosity of the Holy Spirit gradually becomes our generosity, packed down, shaken together and spilling over into our laps.

You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery, working night and day.

And like Paul, this hard work was, for me today, all about people, my friends and clients, wise men and women who taught me more than they know. Like:

Every day, we get up in the morning and ask each other, “What can I do to make your day better?” Mom and Dad and four kids are growing up encouraging that spirit of generosity in their household.

“We go through conversion after conversion (or we should), but if we are always converting to the same thing, we probably aren’t growing.” (That actually was Thomas Merton’s idea, shared by my friend who a few hours earlier drove his scooter through a driving Indian monsoon. Like riding through a river, he said.)

“Understanding synchronicity as multiple chances to greet the Holy Spirit, meaningful chances when you sense the alignment of your life with the universe, moments of quantum change when epiphany transforms the ordinary in an instant.” Thank you, Friar Jude Hill and Justin Coutts, and my friend’s notes on their lectures.

My friend who buys garage sale items to sell on Ebay happened on an estate sale of a wealthy hoarder. He was invited into the house and wished he had a thousand dollars and a pickup truck to take stuff home. Which he didn’t, but he might get to go back again.

Two short naps, BLTs with a friend who brought tomatoes, lettuce and bread to go with my bacon, turning him and his brother on to my favorite plumber, a rich zoom meeting with centering prayer partners … and by the end of the day I knew I’d be lonely when everyone was gone. But not true, really. Just happy, filled up and ready for sleep. Perchance to dream.

Tomorrow I’ll see my doctor. MyChart showed me the results of the labs. NORMAL! Shout that from the rooftops.

We give thanks to God unceasingly, that we receive his word not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in we who believe.

(1 Thessalonians 2, Psalm 139, 1 John 2, Matthew 23)

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