“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Somedays I am overwhelmed that I get to do the work I do. Yesterday was one of those days. Much of the morning was filled with the various preparations needed for the upcoming first Sunday in Advent. I have been a part of a group of people who have been hanging brilliantly colored stars throughout our worship spaces in anticipation of our theme of ‘Holy Darkness, Holy Light’. In addition to the stars, fabrics of blue hues, the liturgical color of Advent, needed to be collected and placed on tables, pulpits and other areas around the church. Advent wreaths needed to be cleaned up and taken to the worship spaces so they are ready to begin our walk toward Christmas. This kind of preparation is a joy for me. It helps to set the rhythm for my own spiritual noticing of the gifts of this season.
In the afternoon I had the blessing of visiting one of our members who is living in her 96th year. To say that this woman is an inspiration is such an understatement. A former teacher, she continues to learn and study every day. Her body has known some health problems but her mind is sharp as a tack and she exercise like an Olympic athlete. Every time I visit her I know fully that the visit is more for me than for her. She shared with me what she had been up to over the last several months. In her lovely apartment she has two computers, an IPad and a Kindle in addition to countless books. She uses them all to continue to research her many interests. This time she had been inspired to learn more about the Dust Bowl after having watched the recent episodes on PBS about this time in our country’s history. I marveled at her insatiable lust for learning and felt humble in its presence.
In the evening I joined with a group of people so dedicated to our church that I am always filled with gratitude in their presence. We dreamed and schemed the names of people who might be invited to serve in various capacities in the work of the church. There was laughter and serious conversation as we sought, as best we could, to create a balanced and thoughtful approach to inviting people even further into the life of the church. As names were offered someone might share something that was going on in that particular life, joys, tragedies, sorrows,celebrations, that would impact the invitation and the possible acceptance. It was holy work. Work that will have more far flung implications than even we might imagine.
Like most work, there are days that are less fulfilling than others. There are days when I long for the kind of work that sees instant gratification. The kind of gratification that I imagine construction workers have as they watch a building or highway appear through the work of their hands. Or any of the jobs where people assemble something visible. To be able to see, feel, or touch the fruits of your labor must bring a certain satisfaction, one I rarely experience.
Instead the work to which I have been called measures its time and and production in relationships and commitments and the blessing of traveling the life span with people. The paycheck comes in listening and heartache and the thrill of seeing someone light up with passion for finding a heart connection with another person or seeing someone live into a gift they never knew they possessed. It comes in walking with others through life stories that are unfolding in all their mundane and triumphant nuances. It comes in knowing that these stories and my own are held in the weave of the great faith story.
What is your work? How is it filling you these days? How is it inviting you to weave your story with a greater story? How is it inviting you to an even deeper sense of living? May you be blessed in your work this day, whatever it may be. And if the work for which you long does not come your way, may you be held in the hope of its arrival.