Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Word of God 3: Waiting

So, what if you sit there and try to listen and nothing happens? What if you just end up restless and distracted?

Well, when that happens to me (which is... a lot), two different perspectives strike me.

First, maybe that's just the way it is. Maybe today, this mass, these readings, there was nothing there for you. Maybe your job today was just to try and pay attention, or just to wait.

I know, God forbid we actually just sit there. I could be problem solving my latest crisis! Or choosing what I'm going to have for brunch! Or texting myself my list of groceries! You don't want to forget the meatloaf!

But you can't go get it now anyway, can you? No. Not unless your church is also a Target Greatland. (And what a great idea that is. Receive communion and get a 10% discount! Yikes.)

Often for me when I am sitting there super-restless, not wanting to wait, what's really going on is a resistance to truly being in God's hands and letting things happen as they will. Why do that, when I could be in control! It makes me UNCOMFORTABLE.

Welcome to the spiritual life.

No one said it would be easy...

And my other thought is this: is there perhaps something I could be doing different before Mass that would help me be more receptive? Sometimes, probably not. But maybe sometimes there is. Like for instance, I notice if I am going going going literally until the moment I walk into church, then it's going to take me pretty much until the homily to really start to hear. Really, it takes that long for me to slllloooowwww down.

So I've been thinking maybe I need to introduce a little time before I go to mass in which I stop doing some of the things that tend to hyperstimulate/absorb me -- a.k.a the computer, the TV and the cell phone -- and try instead to do some things that help me get in touch with myself, like taking a walk (or even just standing outside a bit and taking some great deep breaths), or reading a little poetry. What things you might need to add or subtract might be different, but the goal's the same -- to become a little more present and in touch. A modern day version of the pre-Mass fast.

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