Last Monday's list is history. Somehow it all got done and I am now down to a packing list. Things like camera batteries and cat food so they won't starve while I am off basking in the warmth of desert sunshine, the companionship of good friends and the peace of retreat. Retreat. What a good idea this. To call a halt to all daily events and go off somewhere, where one assumes there might be a little space.....for thought, for prayer, for ordering up the priorities.
My life these days is kind of like my wardrobe. I had this little meltdown Easter morning as I pulled out one Spring top after another and they hung there on me looking....well, big! "Nothing fits!" I groused, as it became clear that some changes really have occurred. It is not a bad problem....in fact it is quite a lovely one. And I am not complaining. Far from it! But it does complicate things. And requires that I take some action.
For a time I had this rather orderly little spiritual life. Practices and disciplines that were tidy and predictable and fitting. I knew what I was doing when and where. It was a routine that worked nicely for a single priest with a day job. And for a while there, I must say there was time that was begging for filling with something other than my very raw emotions. And I found that my church life obliged nicely by expanding to fill it. Taking a whole Saturday to write a sermon worked for me, as did spending many quiet hours in reading and reflection. I also was very willing to overfunction and spend as many hours as needed (or beyond) being involved in churchy things. Whatever there was to do, I did...and more. But the shape of this too has changed. And like my spring clothes, the shape of this no longer fits me. I have said no to requests to attend extra meetings, take on extra tasks. I have even told people they would have to (gasp) "do without me." And by and large, the other folks in my life are adjusting with a minimum of fussing. I on the other hand am still having the equivalent of my Easter morning clothing meltdown. "Nothing fits!" I wail as I look at my former wardrobe of spiritual disciplines and tidy routines. "And just what were you expecting?" asks my wise friend. "It has only been such a short time." Ah yes that time thing again. I forget that. It feels like forever I have known him....I forget how new we are. So, yes, I suppose it does make sense that I have not yet figured out how to be. How not to be the priest who used her call to hide from her life as in the past, or the single, solitary contemplative priest I have been for the last year .... but a woman who serves God as a priest in the context of a full and loving and healthy relationship. Finding what fits and helps me continue to grow spiritually in this season of new life.
I have said before I am not sure I know how to have a spiritual life in a time of joy. Pain has always been a good motivator for me. I'm not sure how it works without it. And right now there are some things that are not feeling too good in one dark corner of my life, so there is some push to get moving on this. The BE comes at a good time I know it will all come together. I will find my way, with the help of God and my friends, I will find a balance. New things will come, perhaps even old things will find their way back. It is likely that I will pray and read again on some sort of a regular and disciplined basis. Perhaps I will do yoga and meditate. These things did feed my soul. It is not the first time I have left them for a time. They call me back. God calls me back and calls me out. It's not all supposed to keep fitting, the same stuff, for all time, I guess. Just another adventure in God's fitting room.