A Day in the Life
I had the best of intentions. I was going to send a few emails, then have the bulk of the day to focus on Sunday’s sermon. One of the great joys of my work as a priest is preparing for a sermon. I love finding the whispers of God in these ancient texts, the parallels between their day and ours. I love exploring the words themselves – their history, their poetry, the ways they’ve resonated over time. Studying Scripture makes me feel like the tree in Psalm 1, “planted by streams of water.” My deepest roots are nourished, and I find myself stretching toward the sun.
Then the day unfolded. It started with someone needing assistance with clothes and food. (She needed a lot more than that, of course; but beyond a listening ear and some referrals, that was what we could offer.) Our parish’s newest parents called back to share news of their new baby. My sister called with news that couldn’t wait. A co-worker needed to talk. Bulletins needed to be proofed. Hymns needed to be chosen. And then there was the flood of that day’s emails – all the things I couldn’t have anticipated when I made my grand plan for the day but needed to respond to anyway.
At some point the interruptions stop being interruptions. They become the work of the day. Each conversation becomes a place to find God’s whisper if I’m still enough inside to listen for it, an invitation to see the Spirit at work. I’m asked to see the holy in the present moment and honor it – in the struggles and victories of the people right in front of me. And that’s what I saw and heard yesterday.
There’s beauty in being a place where people still know to come for help, where they can share their joys as well as sorrows. There’s comfort in knowing that the God who spoke thousands of years ago in Scripture is still speaking through the experiences of the people around me. Learning to listen in one place and time makes it easier to listen in another.
It reminds me of the old John Lennon lyric, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Or perhaps the better quote is much older. St. Catherine of Siena once wrote, “All the way to heaven is heaven.” We don’t always need to go back to the beginning to find God. Nor do we just meet God at the end of the road; we’re with God every step of the way – in every planned and unplanned moment. Thank you, God, for eyes to see and ears to hear.