Friday, July 14, 2006

Life and Hope: How to keep your sanity while waiting for God's will

It's a dilemma we all face now and then. What to do with your life while you wait for the will of God.

It has been something of a discovery as I have been finding out over the past year...there is lots to be said of patience and broken pencils. I mean, there is only so much house cleaning and closet rearranging to be done in times of a fallow field. So some creativity is called for, some you do on your own and the other kind that just manages to find you, idling at the curb.

As I have looked for gainful yet honorable work, I have helped inventory a local middle school library, helped paint a friend's living room, dining room and workspace of her condo with rough plaster walls--which as we know is a job no one in their right mind would do but for the love of said friend--and on top of that baby-sat her cockatiel while her hardwood floors were being installed, sanded and varnished times three; moved furniture, dusted furniture, willing got hauled all over the Valley looking at paint chips and area rugs until I knew everything there as to know about shades of almond and meadow green. My home became a one-time bed and breakfast for said wonderful friend over the course of a week, wherein I prepared coffee [which I don't drink] and some organic healthy breakfast each morning to the temporarily and somewhat anxious pal.

Trust me, my painting and furniture-moving muscles are fully awake...ugh.

As of today, I have begun keeping an elderly lady company at a nursing home by reading her poetry and telling a few stories for about an hour a day, every other day or so as she is now on hospice again, and everyday counts to her and her family. She delighted in a Wendell Barry and then a Jayne Relaford Brown piece, as well as a haiku on rabbits. There was a little St Anselm, shoehorned in for variety, and I also shared a poem written by a friend of The Rev. Susan Russell about crocuses but it was really an allegory for General Convention in disguise.

I met the home's director and nursing manager, the resident charge RN and a few other wonderful folk who help make the lives of these elderly and disabled people richer and more comfortable. The Licensed Clinical Social Worker for hospice is pretty special too. A real neat and intelligent woman who radiates glee and takes a truthtelling interest in her charges. Gotta love that!

I am also going through a little more of my material inheritance: lots of sewing stuff, ceramic shop stuff, antiques, toys my mother could never throw away because HER little ones played so happily with them and because as a child she never had any. Quilts--lots of quilts--some she made, some my grandmother made, some she bought. And I have my books: boxes and boxes and boxes of them...time for a serious weeding in that department.

And then there is time to be still. We all need that now and then, recharging the ol' batteries, clearing the mind of clutter and everyday debris. I have a garden for that, thankfully, with the occasional bunny hopping through, stopping long enough to notice me, wash an ear and then silently move the backyard where the fresh food and cool water is set out for them. Taking notice of the resident hummingbirds and considering their lives is also a thing to be meditative on while recharging, or the bees on the oxalis and daisies.

Being still has never been easy for me since my energy and strength was demanded or needed elsewhere. I am learning balance these days, not a simple task at all--the learning or the balancing. My priest has encouraged me to take up centering prayer which she demonstrated one day. It looks so simple and easy, and I am sure it least the times I have tried it. It was good time but she's more disciplined at it than I am...oh, and the discipline part, that's not easy either but I keep trying, and I suppose that is the crux of the matter: that we keep trying, and that we resist giving up and giving in to those thoughts and inactions that would otherwise sink us deeper into despair or convince us that all our effort is hopeless.

Well, it isn't hopeless and we need not sink into despair because Christ has already convinced us by the ultimate demonstration of His unending love that there is hope when it appears all hope is gone. Rising from the dead is very big deal. And if that does not give the hopeless hope, then I have nothing else to offer.

So, there is hope for me, hope for a way out of my occasional panic attacks about finances and the future; hope for the many others who are in more dire straits than I am, you know, the folks living under our local bridges and overpasses in town and throughout the Valley.

Hope that things will get better in the Middle East and that the terrorist group in Lebanon will get their coming-uppance for kidnapping two soldiers and attacking the rest, setting off the entire problem occurring as I type. Hope that the "war" in Iraq will end somehow and bring our men and women home. Hope that the insurgents will be put down by their own people so peace can happen.

Hope that the poor and hungry at home here in America can have a decent place to sleep, eat and live. That there will be opportunity for their children instead of embittered lives that will prey on the drug habits of others.

Hope for healing, everywhere. It helps to put things into perspective, doesn't it? Yeah, thought so.




atticus said...

thank you for sharing this about your life...quiet, thinking time is so rare these days..i pray for some of that for you and your readers...(and for me)

Catherine + said...

You are welcome, atticus. I think we all need to pray for one another to have such time, God knows we need it in these times that we are in.



Dennis said...

Any chance that you might think that this crisis in Lebanon is caused by something deeper than "terrorists" who "kidnapped" two Israeli soldiers? Perhaps there are deeper causes, including the confinement of a whole people in camps after their land was taken from them? Maybe fifty years of atrocities against Palestinians?

I am also deeply horrified at the description of the indescriminate bombing of innocent civilians by the Israeli war machine as people getting their "come-uppance". I wonder, that convoy of women and children who were killed by Israeli bombs on Thursday, what had they done to deserve this "come uppance"? What about the homes and businesses of innocent civilians in Lebanon? Why must they suffer?

As Christians, let's not take the side of aggressors and violent people. Let's call for peace and security for all people in the middle east, including those who live in Israel, Lebanon and Palestine.

Catherine + said...

Hello Dennis, and thank you for your comments. I can appreciate the bigger picture and the history of the area, more than I wish to share here. Part of my history is there too, all the way back to the 14th century.

Yes, some can say that the Israelis are the aggressors, some can say that the terrorists are the aggressors, some can say the Christians are the aggressors, and some will say that the Muslims are the agressors, and so on.

Right now, after millennia of turnover, that particular piece of land is still doing just that, turning over. Who will own it next? Maybe not the Palestinians--either Muslim or Christian. maybe not the Israelis; maybe it will be the Syrians even.

How do the people who still believe in an "eye for an eye" understand peace when the cycle of violence keeps turning? I truly have no idea.

My observation was that, an observation. The come-uppance part was toward any terrorists that set off a conflict without caring about the innocent ones involved, on either side. It is a blood for blood culture, revenge and honor is all they think they know. They could know more, if they would stop and listen. It is my observation that Lebanon is paying a price for hosting a terror organization. It is my understanding that the Israelis are putting pressure to bear on Lebanon to kick the terrorists out and regain their kidnapped people.

I don't claim to know ever nuance of the matter. And perhaps my wording could have been a bit different and not seem so one-sided.

It was never my intention to offend. Forgive me please for doing so.