Friday, February 22, 2013

(Ready?) for Surprises

I probably didn't mention what I'd originally thought of (for here) for Lent.  It had occurred to me to venture once again into our interior monastery, looking anew into particular areas and rooms and hallways, exploring what Our Lord seems to be doing in them now... this Lent.... today. 

I was surprised, therefore, by the initial idea of "catacombs." Still, I was ready to move forward.  It was going to be a different sort of adventure from our cloister journeys in the past, and I was ready for surprises.

The first surprise was when my Internet connection went down.  As you know if you followed my whines about it, the trouble was initially intermittent.  Then, for a few days, there was no connection whatsoever. 

Then began the adventure of writing letters to Jesus.   It was (and is) another way of practicing Lectio for me.  Perfect.

Then came an unusual onslaught of busyness.  Unexpected guests that arrived at the same time as expected ones, and a phone ringing at the exact same moment as the doorbell, while children bounced like rubber balls across the floor.  This happening just after a workman had spent all afternoon tracking down the Internet snag. Bedtime after 3:00 a.m that night (yes, for real). Soup that had to be made the next morning, and then two full days with beloved grandchildren who treated me to tea parties and clay-modeling and the playing of almost every board game on the shelf.

It was while chopping celery-for-soup that I sorely missed my letters to Jesus.  I'd barely started the practice, and already I was homesick for it.  A very good sign, I realized.  I was ready for the adventure to begin.

Then it hit me.  Writing to Jesus is not like writing to a friend who lives far away.  Jesus sees what I write, but He also knows my every thought.  Why not "write" Him mentally, even as I chopped?  Why not, as St. Stanislaus Kostka put it, “find a heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms..”?

Tonight I was able to take some quality time writing (on paper) a letter.  It is heartfelt, and real, and I hope my Lord is pleased.  But I know He's just as pleased to see a stack of games waiting to be shelved, and a mostly eaten pot of soup in the fridge, and a clay "sculpture" of Larry the Cucumber proudly displayed.  

And as far as that adventure into our inner monastery?  Oh, I think even that may be part of God's plan.  

We often begin Lent with everything mapped out, wrote the nuns at Quidnunc; "And then God steps in – He sends us on detours, sometimes through very rough terrain.  We like to take the smoothly paved scenic route; He likes to go off-roading..."  I strongly suggest a reading of this excellent (very brief) article, which you can find by clicking right here. 

I'm ready (I gulp as I say it) for God's surprises.  Hope you'll be along for the ride.

Painting: Eugen von Blaas, The Eavesdropper, detail

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