Marsha and I enjoyed the show Thirtysomething before we left for Africa. I know that the series got panned by some as trite, but I thought, and still do, that it dealt with real issues in real ways. They were just the problems of a person living with oneself and others - and not issues of larger scale.
I remember the show where Michael Stedman is told that he can't enjoy the now because he's always waiting for the Cassocks to sweep down and destroy the village. Maybe I've always been a little that way. Always pushing to do, and not enjoying the being in the here and now enough. Didn't know the sacrament of the present moment.
By some mystery of God's grace, I am now in a place of peace and joy and am not even worrying about when it will end. The realization that it could all end tomorrow doesn't even fill me with anxiety, though I am in no way in denial about the fact that something will happen, sooner or later.
I don't think that I am to indulge in these gifts selfishly, though. Actually, being "in" these gifts helped me to truly "be" with a good friend, David Emerson, and his children as David's wife, Beth, passed away 10 days ago. Sitting in the waiting room, going into the ICU ward to pray with the family, and accompanying them when the end came . . . without the grace of these gifts I don't think I would have ever been able to truly "be" there . . . unselfishly, without self-conscious concerns, and open to letting God's grace touch them.
I say this not boastfully, but in true awe. I used to be a person who fled from emotional situations, was extremely uncomfortable around death and dying, and tried to ignore suffering. I confess that I "thought my way through" much of the suffering I encountered in Africa, often not acknowledging the real hurt - afraid it would be too crushing to think about. How astonishing that God could change me this much.
If I can see any design of God in my life, one clear pattern is that He moves me to a place of "being" which then becomes obvious as a means for some service of His planning.
Though I enjoy the peace and clarity I now have, I think I've be graced with this for a purpose . . . to share this grace. The hard part, at least right now, seems to be having something I believe i am supposed to share but not knowing exactly how to do it. In what way am I to impart this peace and grace? I interact constantly with so many who are in such turmoil and I don't know what I am supposed to be doing. What I do manage to offer, seems so little and ineffectual. This grace is not given to others easily.
Okay . . . time to stop writing. I've simply been thinking out loud in this post. No plan . . . just write whatever comes . . . and then have the guts to click the "Publish Post" button. Here goes . . .