October 17, 2012
Feast of St. Mary the Great-Heart, Foxtrap
St. Ignatius of Antioch
This week the doorbell rang, and no one was there. On our front step was a package of Halloween candy with a note to say, “you’ve been Booed.” I was shocked to see that this celebration had been advanced by two weeks, and expectation was that we would join in with others in the neighbourhood to catch the excitement of “Pre-Halloween.”
I believe I was more than shocked, but if nothing else, this interruption gave me chance to consider the source of my feelings and reactions. My experiences this week have been accentuated by opposing ideas of contentment and anticipation.
This week I have anticipated the first Birthday of a dear friend after she died.
This week I have sat with parents who have been at the bedside of their daughter for three weeks, through the ups and downs of a grave illness.
I have sat in the presence of great wealth and even greater generousity.
I have been impatient with my expectations of self, society, and ‘Church.’
I have shared Eucharist with a widow in the stillness and holiness of her room.
In all these instances, there seems to be a voice softly repeating, as steady as a heartbeat:
“Be satisfied, . . . Hurry up, get on with it.”
Two opposing realities circle my daily existence: anticipation and contentment. Scripture tells us to wait, to listen to the still small voice, to be. Scripture also urges us to be enactors of change, agents of a kingdom that is ‘already, not yet.’
I have listened with my ears and my heart this week to people on either side of these realities.
“When will we get some news from the doctors?”
“At last this day is here where I can share with others the blessings of my life.”
“Will God hear my prayer? I feel so alone.”
“Though we don’t know the outcome, we will wait.”
I was taught to always strive to always do my best. I was also taught to be satisfied with what I have. God created this world, and it was good. Why strive for anything more?
The presence of evil and injustice abound in society. Why not strive to make a difference?
The beat of the heart urges me to pull in both directions: when I breathe in, “what will tomorrow bring?” as I exhale, “Today’s worries are enough for today.”
I do not believe that humanity can exist without this juxtaposition. We are continuously shifting between dreaming and living: looking ahead, living in the present. The question for me is, “is this human state a reflection of a right relationship with God? Is this a prayerful and godly attitude?”
The pumpkins light the paths to many streets and homes now, in anticipation of All Hallows Eve. Children are eager to enter into a moment of wonder and pleasure, full of adventure, candy and treats.
I sit here wondering should I wish away autumn in search for winters marvels, or bask in the time God has given me this day.