Solitude will do its good work whether we know what we are doing or not. – Ruth Haley Barton
As you have probably already noticed, this isn’t Friday. I started this meditation yesterday but I was not able to finish it. Below is how it began.
“In a month, or four weeks, we will have access to our new house. I am excited, so it doesn’t make sense that I should feel so …… whatever. When I try to understand where this sense of gloom is coming from, I can find no reason for it. Maybe it’s because my husband and I take turns getting colds. Maybe it’s the crazy spring weather which gives me body aches and keeps me inside out of the sun of which there is not much, anyway. To top it off, I’ve missed the spring retreat because of having muscle spasms in my back. Whine. Sigh. Darn. I knew something was out of kilter because I wanted to eat everything that wasn’t nailed down and I managed to do it for the most part. What’s up with this?”
So, yesterday and so far today, all I’ve really been able to do is sit, stretch, read, pray, be still and enjoy some well needed solitude. Hum. Well. In the process I read an article by Dr. David Benner that included this: “…spiritual teachers have always taught the importance of awareness. Hasidic Jews tell a story of a young man who approached Reb Yerachmiel ben Yisrael one afternoon. “Rebbe,” the young man asked with great seriousness, “what is the way to God?” The rebbe looked up from his work and answered: “There is no way to God, for God is not other than here and now. The truth you seek is not hidden from you; you simply do not notice it. It is here for you if you will only awake.
“This is the truth that has been proclaimed by all the great Christian mystics across Christian history. And it is the truth taught from cover to cover of the Bible. In his Areopagus sermon, Paul declares that God “is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:27–28). God is closer than our next breath. Job even reminds us that not only is God the source of each breath, but each breath also is God’s breath (Job 27:3). How much more intimate could our relationship with God be? God is not absent. It is we who fail to notice divine presence. It’s all a matter of awareness.”
Now, I don’t think that I’m really bad about being aware of God, but there are certainly times when I am not. I’ve been stressed enough lately that I know I’ve missed Jesus in the face of others or in situations where I find myself…in the eyes of a woman in the lobby (narthex) at church, in the care of our loving hostess during our time of transition, in the love of my husband, and in your faces my dear brothers and sisters, in scripture or in an article I might just happen to read. I could go on. So how about today…when I am not where I had planned and wanted to be. Where is God’s face today? I know that God doesn’t give us backaches or any number of other maladies, but he certainly uses them to get our attention. He may keep telling us we need a break when we begin to miss his face, but we (OK, I) tend to ignore that until I have no other choice but to notice. Today, I’m taking a break.
Where are you aware of Jesus today?
“Be still and know that I am God.”