this is happening

The church calendar calls into consciousness the existence of a world uninhabited by efficiency, a world filled with the excessiveness of saints, ashes, smoke, and fie; it fills my heart with both dread and hope. It tells of journeys and mysteries, things “seen and unseen,” the world of the almost known. It dreams impossibilities: a sea divided in two, five thousand fed by a loaf and two fishes, a man raised from the dead. My daily calendar reminds me that what I experience in the wold of faith must be measured against what I see, what is happening around me. + Nora Gallagher

The last two or three weeks have found me enslaved to my calendar. The calendar, however, has been filled with meetings and classes and groups and sessions that often find me wondering afterward if there is any reward in seeking and more so doing justice. But there is a rhythm to it. This past Sunday, visiting a church that has grown fond to me for multiple reasons, I found myself partaking of the bread and the wine, and the moment froze in time, or at its fastest began moving in slow motion.

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I totaled my car several months ago in transit from my great grandmother’s funeral to the graveside service. I remember as the car began spinning and flipping. I took my hands away from the wheel and put them in my lap. There was no screaming, no cussing, no praying, no yelling. I remember seeing slowly, the way movies freeze the frame for scenes like these.

And I remember thinking nothing other than, “this is happening.”

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Last Sunday morning was much the same. I was kneeling, looking three people over at the two boys of close friends kneeling also with their parents, and I felt the thickness of tears flood to my bottom eyelids. I grinned, and time slowed down. I kneeled there, participating in a kind of holy moment that I’ve participated in for more than twenty years. I had no control, no wisdom, no input, no heavy thoughts.

And I remember thinking nothing other than, “this is happening.”

These last several weeks have found me feeling slave to my calendar and slave to my intentions. I’ve wondered if the things I hope for and the things I end up being willing to stick my neck out for are actually worth it. I’ve wondered if it’s worth seeking justice, because the strong are louder and find immediate reward. I’ve wondered if doing the right thing, while potentially unpopular, is ultimately the right thing. I’ve wondered if my personal reputation is worth the suffering of a nameless person. I’ve wondered if a paycheck that brings more stress than income is worth whatever work I hope I am doing.

But when I knelt at that rail to take the bread and wine, and join in histories of men and women across the globe doing the same thing, and wondering the same things, and especially looking three people over to see my little buddies kneeling at the same rail, I remember thinking nothing other than, “this is happening, and I give thanks. And ask for courage.”

djordan
Pine Tree

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One thought on “this is happening

  1. G says:

    Thank you Donald.

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