thursday... and nobody home
It's been one of those weeks when nothing went as planned. Disappointment and dashed expectations are strewn over the memories of the week, and they're spread out so well that there's not a single area of my life where I can look and say: "Yes! This is good. This is the way it's supposed to be." The care of the church started the week. Then there was the trip to nowhere, and although I said 'no thanks', it still cost me a day and 400 miles. My mom's aging and it's hard to watch, even from a distance as this time it was my faithful wife who was down in California to offer care. Work days that I felt needed uninteruppted time to prepare some large projects have consistently been interupprted. The cat has fleas, and they're everywhere in the house. I've taken up the battle cry and am obsessed with killing them. A new window in the house has cracked for no apparent reason. Some logs are rotting in the writing cabin.
I'm not certain what I'm supposed to do when everywhere I turn things seem bad, but here's what I'm doing tonight. I turn the TV off and listen to the new Sigur Ros CD, while I do the dishes. The cat, who is getting over the flea bites because I've slathered some sauce on her neck, sits on the counter beside me the whole time I wash and dry, purring so loud I can hear her over the music. She's happy to be with me, or so I think in my biological naivete.
I finish the dishes and sit in the living room, darkened except for candles. The cat follows me and finds my lap. I listen to the music that transcends language, transcends mind, speaks to spirit even though I'm not even certain it's a real language I'm hearing. I pray for my mom. I pray for the church I lead. I pray for peace, and for the families I know whose financial woes make my week look like a rich holiday by comparison. I know people who could lose everything in this economy. I pray for a man who I've grown to love who lives in Los Angeles and is suffering from a stroke. I pray for strength to serve and lead... and then the words end.
In the silence, the cat is purring, the candles are lit, and there is beauty and peace in the room. Tomorrow I'll need to finish a powerpoint presentation, write two articles, and deal with some property problems - but for a few minutes, there's peace. It's funny - in this peace, this shelter of a few moments of silence with Christ, I realize that this is enough, realize that these moments of grace are nectar, manna, strength for the journey. The journey must still be travelled, and along the way there will be hassles, stresses, disappointments, and joys as well. But it's this peace that sustains. It's more than a purring cat and candles, though the life and light in those two are significant symbols: it's the deep seated assurance that comes when we pour our heart out - an assurance that, no matter who wins Tuesday, no matter the price of gas, no matter... we're moving towards a better world, a world where Jesus will fill everything; and all shall be well. In the meantime, forestastes are a gift of grace, and I thank God for them when they come.
Shalom... it's time to go to the airport.