I can tell you that our Christmas season was wonderfully fulfilling. I came away from my 10ish days in Iowa feeling that during the visit time was "fulfilled"...thoroughly, used up, and well-spent. It wasn't always pretty, and it certainly wasn't always smooth or joyous...but, it was so well-used. Like if you'd taken a cloth of our ten days and soaked it, and then wrung it out - you'd get no more drops of water out of it.
I don't really feel like that here. I feel like I am passing time. I feel like I am using time, and sometimes well, and sometimes just waiting around for that next thing. ...and I don't like it. That's not how I want to feel...but, I really don't know how to change it, either.
Yesterday, I acutely felt the loneliness of where I am. I know of no other way to describe it - except it's like travelling on your way and the wind just gets completely knocked out of you - and takes your breath away and bowls you over. You didn't see it coming; you just feel it.
- The words of Gabriel to Mary describing Elizabeth's miraculous pregnancy: For nothing is impossible to God.
- The words from the psalm: Open wide [your mouth] and I will fill it.
- A reflection from Advent that asked this question: are you a mountain to be brought low or a valley to be filled? In Isaiah, God speaks of filling in the valleys and smoothing out the mountains. I'd never considered this to be a "heart" or people verse, always taking it literally. I currently feel like a valley...but also like a mountain...and probably most like the mountain who needs to get some rough edges smoothed out, and self-importance brought down.
- Jesus was ready to start his ministry at age 12. Yes, really. He stuck around Jerusalem after the Passover because he was ready to get started on 'his mission from God.' (to quote the Blues Brothers) He was ready to sit down with the scribes and Pharisees and get to work. After all, that's what the good Jewish boy did. But, that's not what Jesus did. When Mary and Joseph came frantically searching for him, he didn't defiantly stand his ground and say, "Can't you see that I'm ready? Don't hold tight to me, woman! I must be about my Father's business!" He went home. He returned with them, lived with them, and submitted to their authority as his parents. The result? Jesus grew in stature with men and with God. ...and he waited 28 years to start his ministry.
Wow. I thought the 11 year wait from the first bouquet I caught until I *finally* got married was long. [also, I think a lot when I run, apparently]
So. What do I do now in ordinary time? I wait. I seek God. I let him fill me up; I let him smooth me out; I love others...and I keep watch...and I focus on today - my daily bread.