It has been a week of some unsettledness here at this old house. The weather has alternated between rain or snow and sunshine. There have been some more adjustments to be made as John is now two weeks away from the start of Yo-vel, our time of “jubilee,” and discernment following 31 years of good ministry at First Pres. Finally, I have become aware in powerful ways that God may be calling me to a very different path than the one I have been pursuing in an area of my life. It has to do with a growing awareness of “my own voice” and the implications of that voice. Reading this morning in “A Spiritual Disciplines Handbook,” I was encouraged by Adele Calhoun’s words in her chapter on Examen: “Perspective and direction for the future happen through listening to where and how God shows up in your day and then interacting with God in prayer. Awareness of the Spirit’s enlivening and enlightening presence puts you in touch with the kind of person God created you to be. When you begin to recognize who God created you to be, you have the raw material for discerning God’s unique call and design for your life.” God’s unique call, I am beginning to realize, may be not be the door I have been knocking on for a long time.
I have been struggling with some issues of loss in the last year related to vocational calling opportunities. As I have come to see over time, those “losses” may actually fall into the category of “being protected from” situations. I have come to recognize the idolatry I had made out of some paths I was trying to drag God by the hand down. When those doors all finally shut, I came to realize that my dreams were too small, too short-sighted, too dependent on others and their approval. Sir Frances Drake’s prayer, which I have always liked, had been answered in some ways: “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we have dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore.”
This past week, I have taken the first step through a new doorway, a new sense of calling in my life, that, while consistent in theme is much broader in scope than before. Once again, I am being asked to risk moving out into the “frontier lands” of the Kingdom of God. This is all very freeing and exciting and absolutely unknown as to how this will play out at this point. Following a major faith crisis twenty years ago, I took a significant shift in my views of God, myself and the world. This week, I feel like I was asked to take another step along that path.
As I said, this is all new and uncertain right now but one thing I did that showed my willingness to God to follow was to write a poem. I do not consider myself a poet but several weeks ago, a crazy thought popped into my head while on one of my morning exercise walks. It was strange and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I was afraid of “what others might think.” I made myself share it with two people privately at first and then a bit more publicly. Now, I throw caution to the wind (otherwise known as the Internet). The initial thought became the title:
The In-Laws of the Virgin Mary
We liked you from the beginning!
You were our favorite, our first choice.
We are so glad that you said yes.
(We knew you would.)
We realize it has not been easy,
To remember how it all started.
We have grieved with you more than once.
But never forget: you are the favored one,
Blessed among women, Regina coeli.
The fruit of your womb, your Son as well as ours,
Is blessed to have you as his earthly mother.
Hail! The Angelus still says in ringing tones.
Valerie E. Hess copyright 2015
Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for more adventures on the “frontiers of the faith”!