Spiritual disciplines, grad school homework, funerals, hurting friends, a full-time job, working out, serving projects, family drama, and my own personal drama sure do keep my time occupied - as I'm sure for you as well! I'm not sure how Americans stay sane considering our lifestyles that keep us hopping and always occupied - sometimes even good spiritual activities just seem like another appointment block on my Outlook calendar. It's one of the reasons why the regular practice of Sabbath has been crucial for my life. There is a time for work, for play and for rest and God is with me through all the sacred ordinariness of life. Although, at times, I am simply overwhelmed with the world's crises and injustices that just seem to be never ending and there is still much work to be done. Learning how to recharge and find balance is critical!
I heard a woman speak last night about an experience she had in an orphanage in Ghana. She walked into a concrete warehouse open room filled with hundreds of crying, crawling and walking infants under 3 years old. Being overwhelmed with the desire to pick one up, to comfort at least just one affection-starved child, she asked if she could hold one. She was stunned by the response - "No, don't! They'll get used to being held and they'll cry even more and it will make it even worse! But, come here, let us show you something."
They took her to a room off to the side of the open warehouse where she could smell sweet perfume coming from under the door. They cracked the door open where she could see an older white-haired woman sitting on a mat on the floor, surrounded by candles and sweet perfume oils. This woman was holding one baby, massaging its back with perfumed oil and the baby had a wide-eyed look of ecstasy - soaking it all in! She was told that each baby gets two hours each week in the "holding room of intense compassion".
You may not have the capacity to hold the entire world's pain in your arms, but to whom are you called to offer love, compassion and holding? To whomever that is, I encourage you to do it intensely and surround yourselves with people who will support your arms when they become too heavy to hold anymore!
up/rooted.west will be meeting on the third Tuesday, Nov 18 and Dec 16 at 6:45pm, hosted at Randy Harper's home: 1950 Manchester Rd., Wheaton. We'll offer a free dinner, so please RSVP if you'll be able to make it so the cooks can be prepared. November's discussion will be an open forum and in December we'll tackle 1/3 of Phyllis Tickle's new book, The Great Emergence.
We hope that our discussion group and community of friends can offer hope and encouragement to despairing or weary Kingdom laborers, stimulate theological thought, inspire you with new ideas for how to be the church in your context and that our dreams and visions of what is possible will bounce off each other and grow exponentially as we share!
I pray that you are enjoying God and the divine work He has invited you into and that your life is filled with fellow God-lovers and laborers who will encourage your journey when you become weary! Wherever the disciples went, they encouraged one another. May we strive to do the same today as we are no less in need of encouragement!
Blessings on your journey,
…navigating the complexity of simplicity @