It’s Sunday, and I’m not in my church. Instead I’m home in the meadow, a place of beauty certainly, but also my prison at times. It is my prison, and not the Contrarian’s who would admittedly be happy if he never had to leave.
I, for good or ill, am not quite the hermit as he. And my calling to worship in community has become deeply important to me.
Yet, I, over the past few days, have had to face both reality and what it means to surrender to God. Do not get me wrong. This is no monumental disaster that has befallen me, it is a temporary inconvenience, a mid-level stymieing of my will versus the relentless determination of nature to do as it wishes.
If it were only worship, it would be of little consequence. We all miss, for one reason or another, plenty of Sundays. It is the ministry that I have engaged in that suffers and I have found finally that I must withdraw them them. I have made that one too many calls, regretfully withdrawing from one or another obligation that I have freely taken on.
I have done this to myself of course. The same thing that caused my withdrawal from my beloved EFM course, now drowns other ministries such as chalice bearer and other committee assignments and volunteering at the food pantry. I miss more than I can serve, and frankly, I make headaches for others by their having to scramble for my replacement.
I’m hard headed, but even I get tired of banging my head against a wall. It is not my situation in life right now to do what I would otherwise do. This is no different than those who through family and work cannot do the volunteer work they would like to do. Most put such things off until retirement when more free time is at hand.
I have the free time, just not the ability to get where I want to be with any regularity. It is what it is.
So Jesus and I, for a week or more will spend our time together on Sunday. This is not an entirely bad thing of course, and in some ways it is a good thing. There are times when we need to commune with our God intensely and individually. At least we like to think that. We need to believe that our spiritual choices are indeed ours and not nudged by pastor or fellow traveler. Much as that is not really true, for all our choices are an amalgamation of nearly an infinite number of threads subconsciously understood or not, we can at least own our choices as our own, and that is important to us as creature.
For me, it entails more reading, more spiritual ritual, more meditation. I let the issues that arise from my other-imposed isolation, and begin to look at what is there. What demons loom in the shadows that are really behind my gloom? What do I fear? What do I yearn for? What lessons am I missing here?
Each, as uncovered, provides hours of thought, reverie and gentle acceptance. It is a time to be kind to self and creature. It is a time to be at peace with plant and sky and the most lowly of insect. Precious holy time. As we walk, Jesus and I discover, the cracks and broken places and we together repair and redeem.
I breathe deeply, and without a sigh. I recently heard someone say that true hell was being exactly where you did not want to be with no ability to be other where. I think that is true. The choices become stark at that point. You bang your head uselessly and rail against your misfortune. If it can be changed, you do so, no matter what the work involved. But sometimes, for some time, we must accept and turn to ways to use this time for growth and good.
I am not suffering, rather I am peaceful and accepting. I may be back in church next week, or not. It is not so important. For I have what I need with me always. God has been gracious in giving me a fine husband, and a roof over my head, food to eat, pets to love, eyes to see, and on and on. And I have time to explore with Jesus my spiritual journey.
I have all that I need, just not all that I want. And wanting, is a thing in itself to explore. Along with my relative wealth vis a vis literally billions of others who struggle for mere survival on a daily basis.
All in all, it is a good time in the meadow.