Thursday, July 26, 2007

Invited to Conversion

It seems I haven’t had a lot to say of late. This has not been true just on my blog, but I’ve also been noticing that in the rest of my life I’ve been quieter, more reflective. I have of sense of being in an “intake” mode. Watching, observing, wondering about how it all fits together, what it all means. I know that some of this is just the rhythm of my life. But some of it is still hangover from one of those Things That Happen when you deal with people in human relationships. Words were said, feelings were hurt. Old stuff was triggered for me. This is by now weeks past, and I tell myself I should be over it. And for the most part, it is done. The real world parts have been handled as well as they can be with all concerned and life goes on. But there has been in me some emotional residue. A mix of shame, anger and sadness that has left me with a heaviness of spirit manifested in a sort of bland neutrality. I have been faithful in showing up for the things that I know will see me through, prayer, Scripture, yoga and meditation. I have been sitting in the hot tub doing nothing (hard and rare for me). I have been reading voraciously, my old journals, books and other people’s blogs. And finding therein a lot of wonderful things to reflect on.

The things I’ve been posting are some of my discoveries, a poem from the past that found its way back to consciousness, the quotes from the journal sent to me by the sisters from the religious community I once belonged to, the Stargazer fresh picked from my garden that enticed me with its beautiful color and unmistakable sweet smoky smell. There have been others as well. Kathryn of Good in Parts posted a wonderful quote from Henri Nouwen about emotions that touched me deeply, and led me to the Henri Nouwen Society website, where there are all sorts of wonderful things including a daily meditation, a blog (of all things), and other connections to Nouwen’s works. Since he was someone who was very formational to me in my spiritual life, I found it more than a little “interesting” shall we say, that he would turn up just now. I don’t know if it is the paying attention, of if there truly has been a preponderance of this sort of thing. But it seems, as I’ve said before, as if God takes no chances with my paying attention to the message. And I think I am finally hearing it. And it comes to me via Henri Nouwen, now back on my spiritual radar (thank you Kathryn). He says: “What happened invites you to conversion.”

I saw one of the people involved in the Thing That Happened over the weekend. The person, it turns out, who seems to have the most emotional charge for me around it. Initially it was very painful. Almost flashback-like moments of the incident, reliving of the feelings. But in that same weekend was a beautiful liturgy and renewal of ordination vows and commissionings for all our Total Ministry teams. It “just so happened” that some of the hymns were the same ones I had chosen for my ordination. The readings chosen for the service (Ephesians 4:11-16 and Matthew 9:35-38) felt like they were speaking directly to me, as did the words of the sermon. This and a hundred other things I’ve heard, read, seen, stumbled across in some way, all coalesced in the Nouwen quote -- I am, once again being invited to conversion. Once again being invited to ask what I so often forget, where is God in this? What is God calling me to do, us to do in this time, in this place, in this situation? So right now I am just listening, still reflecting. Lots of questions, no answers. Seeking input. Letting it settle. Invited to conversion. RSVP.

11 comments:

Gannet Girl said...

So I am getting that after you were graduated from the Academy you joined up? Such a fascinating life you've had!

And I don't think I mentioned how much I appreciated the Rumi.

RevDrKate said...

GG, Yes, though there was a bit of a lull. I finished my freshman year of college first, joined beginning of sophomore year, stayed about a year and a half. I think a post on that is brewing. Glad you liked the Rumi, I really enjoy those Persians!

Tandaina said...

Ah, Things That Happen. Such often leads me to moments (or longer than moments) of thought and meditation. I feel the need to process and listen. It sounds like you are doing that now.

Always when we make space for hearing God good comes of it, I truly believe this. Here is to good listening for you.

Sally said...

I suspect that this is a season of listening and recieving for you- peace be with you- thank you for this thoughtful post....

mompriest said...

Me too. A peculiar time...
I appreciate your thoughts on this.

Jan said...

You are be-ing. I applaud your faithfulness in prayer, Scripture, yoga, and meditation, plus reading and hot-tubbing. You are observing and receiving. Breathing in, breathing out--I realized in lectio yesterday how we ask and receive in each breath we take. I've heard that breath is the gift of the future, but it's also NOW--receiving "ruah" and returning, receiving and returning. Thank you, dear Lord.

Diane said...

I think I need a little be-ing myself. Good meditation.

"PS" said...

Blessings on your settling in to listen and reflect.

Serena said...

Beautiful post. Thank you!

Katherine E. said...

I so resonate with this, Kate. How the jolting emotion of human relationships are wonderful and painful and part of the ebb and flow of life, and how the jolt can settle into, yes, bland neutrality for a while. I, too, keep doing the things I should do--showing up, meeting deadlines, etc., but the passion is missing for a while. Having experienced the passion, I yearn for it, so I go back to my journals, and now, yes indeed, read other people's blogs.

And when Henri Nouwen died, I grieved for such a long time. What a soul friend he seemed to me. "Life of the Beloved," especially, plus his daily journal writings after he'd been so hurt and was on retreat with his spiritual director for a while. Can't remember the title of that one.

Your reflections remind me of the mystery involved in conversion, in moving beyond who we are to who God is calling us to become. It seems to me that God is constantly calling me, nudging me, but it takes some mysterious convergence of...I don't know--time, place, emotion, blogs, healing, fun, conversation, happenstance, energy, beauty, effort, reflection, Nouwen, liturgy, anger... I guess maybe just grace. It's so utterly different each time.

Thanks for your post. It's rejuvenated me this morning.

Diane said...

Now back and have had a change to read more meditatively... how hurts take their time healing, and how important it is to take all of the resources that God has for us...