Sometimes you just don’t know how to move from where you are spiritually back into a place of knowing God’s presence. When that happens to me, it’s a perfect place to look for God’s grace in operation, at least in hindsight. Here’s today’s example from real life:
Last week I made a mistake about who was preaching at church and posted my incorrect information on our Facebook page. This led to 3 correcting emails from our rector, none of which I received because I was busy “recuperating” on Saturday and just didn’t bother to check email. On Sunday, someone came to church almost an hour late because they found a notice that our services were in Simmons Gymnasium rather than the Kemper Center Chapel. Guess who’s in charge of fixing this on our website? These little irritations coast me into yesterday morning where I once again have to repeat that I am not in charge of insurance for the church and do not have the time to add that to my “to do” list.
All of these things put me in a foul mood that I just couldn’t shake. Why? Because I am embarrassed by my failure to be efficient, all-knowing, organized, and definite about my boundaries.
The recognition of this embarrassment was helpful for my wee brain, but it did not actually help me feel less embarrassed at my human limitations and imperfections. What I found instead was that it connected to something deep within me that was wordless and undefined–the foul mood was not just the embarrassment, but something in my human condition that is disordered and not in God’s image. The nameless thing became a prayer, a longing or desire of some kind that I directed to God with the occasional verbalized prayer of “You’re going to have to fix this, Lord. I’ve got nothing to go on here.”
Today I woke up still in a dark mood, found my way to my computer and began work. I hear a story about a woman locked by her niece in her room until she died. Her family knew, but did not address the problem. I hear a story about African slaves who were sent to a prison for the smallest of infractions, then tortured and killed there. These dark stories, rather than depressing me further, actually cause my heart to thaw; I send up prayers for the souls of these falsely imprisoned people. After lunch, I take Roxie for a walk in the park, where we meet a dozen children and a Lab who all want to pet her. These everyday interactions cause me to smile, laugh and shrug off more of the darkness I’ve been feeling. As I turn towards home after talking with Ronnie, the park’s gardener, my heart is singing and I realize I’m back in God’s presence–and God himself brought me here.
Can’t find your way into God’s presence? Pray that he will lead you back and that you will recognize when you’ve arrived.
Lord, I thank you for your grace that untangles me from the places I get myself stuck in that are far from you. Keep me close to you always, lead me back quickly when I aimlessly wander away, teach me to be human and loving rather than super-human and efficient. Amen.