That is the way I feel right now - I am being gathered together from being extremely scattered.
For the past three months much has happened and the first thing to go was this blog. This morning I sat on the flowered couch on my back porch and finally, finally, finally felt centered enough to come back to this writing.
There are two major shifts in my life - my daughter Audrey has come home to live with us for a while. Much of my attention and energy has been on her - the practical details of making space for a third person in our home. And the time of just being present with her as she begins her life over again in Columbus.
I am now halfway through working at First Christian Church in Zanesville filling in for Dawn Remster, the minister, who is on sabbatical. I am not really filling in - basically preaching Sunday and Wednesday and doing a little bit of pastoral work. It has been extremely satisfying to be back in Zanesville and to be back into sermon preparation and pastoral life.
What I realize is that I have sort of lost my rhythem and feel kind of scattered which is why I titled this blog "gathered together." It really is only when I intentionally find some quiet time for writing and reflection that I start to feel centered.
Today as I wrote in my journal for the first time in a while, I found myself full of gratitude for all of this change and work and literally new life.
Audrey has - in the space of a few weeks - found a new job as well as some part time work. I watch her as she reconnects with family and old friends and seeks to find new ways to connect with people. She truly is an inspiration to me.
Also, she comes into our home and brings new life. She is working with Chuck in yardwork as well as selling some of the "treasures" that he purchases at estate sales. She is kind and patient and hard working. She is my companion in netflix viewing and political and spiritual discussions. It is beyond good.
I find myself really enjoying the process of sermon preparation - the times of thinking, pondering, reading, praying over the text and eventually emerging with a product that is of interest to me, at least. It is good. I also am glad this is limited because it can truly be a grind as well.
I started a Sunday School class last week on the Pilgrimage of the Soul which I had both attended and led last year. One of the first assignments was to discern or receive a seven word mantra for the month. I have struggled with this until this morning. I read a wonderful poem which I will share which really speaks to me. It speaks of my desires for allowing God's spirit to work through me and I realized that this may be the mantra:
MAY WHAT I DO FLOW FROM ME LIKE A RIVER
(10 words - sorry!)
In this time of fullness and abundance I only want to be faithful to the one who brings new life.
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for may for once spring clear
without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through the widening channels
into the open sea.
Rainer Maria Rilke