I live deep in chaos. I envy Brother Lawrence, the Carmelite monk from the 1600’s with his hundreds of monastery dishes stacked. He slipped easily into practicing Your Presence, soaking in divine love. He made cathedrals of the ordinary while wiping the Provencal stew off of brothers’ plates.
While I do dishes, I have the piercing cry of a child yearning to be held, the tiff in the other room that needs a referee, the turkey call practice, (Please! Stop calling turkeys! I’ll bet you’ve never yelled that!!!) the piano banging. Life jumbles and the phone rings, Pandora randomly picks my music, and I have notebooks around the sink designed for all the things I know I will forget.
It is hard to shovel in a blizzard, my friend joked watching my life.
I envy the clink and the swish and the silence. I want to soak my hands deep into God’s Presence.
Einstein said aha moments flowed unencumbered during his daily 3 B’s: riding on the Bus, soaking in the Bath or laying in Bed.
Imagination sparks just like prayer when brain waves settle.
Neuroscientist, Dr. Dan Siegel explains that the brain was not meant to multitask. When we tangle wires, anxiety sparks.
This week is the beginning of Lent and when I enter, I always hear the words of Hosea 2:14, “I will now allure her into the desert (a place set apart, no distractions), I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”
Sunday night I forgot and indulged.
Sunday night I crawled onto the couch exhausted after a day of ministry and mothering and clicked on the Academy Awards to find out which movies to put onto this year’s Netflix queue. Then, I opened my laptop and began designing a winter wedding inspiration board for a cousin on Pinterest (short white fur cape, feathers and birch bark candles: yum) while simultaneously instant messaging a (lovely ) long lost friend in Minnesota. Looking up occasionally between pins and bleeps, I would register dresses and soundbites, then gape at people flying high above the stage.
Hours later and I found that all this time, surrounded by this mass of media, I had been holding my breath. Indulging had not created rest at all, but stress.
How can I practice the Presence of Christ when I am consumed?
I recently shared these words of God-correction: that the reason I believe God desires we should keep our alcohol intake to a minimum was so that we could be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, so that we could be listening to the Word always speaking. Get tipsy and I can’t hear God.
It seems that this concept needed to flow across the different forums of my life.
In answer to the chaos, a word keeps pinballing around my mind: Kenosis.
Kenosis is humble self-emptying in order to submit to God’s will for the purpose of union with Christ. This is the journey.
Yes, I want union with Christ…and I’m positive this self-emptying is the only way.
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and lose their life?” Mark 8:31-38
Do I want Christ enough to turn off my smart phone/laptop/radio and carve intentional cathedrals of quiet? I hear You say, “Be still and know that I am God” and remember a quote from an Eastern Orthodox saint who said, “Find peace in your own soul and a thousand will find it.” If others are grasping for peace, can I show them to the Way, Truth and Life when I myself am drowning in media, disconnected to the Source?
This is what Brother Lawrence would say we all can practice in the midst of our ordinary.