Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life is a Trip

Life is a Trip

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. – Robert Hastings

Every now and then the well runs dry.

I’ve never lived on a farm, so I’ve virtually no experience with wells. I have neither dug a well nor had one dug; I’ve never dipped a bucket into a well, nor have I primed or jacked a pump. I have seen them on television and in movies, and I know about them in theory, but in practice, I am (or would be) a novice.

Still, what I know about wells is that if you don’t use them, they will dry up. And if you use them too much, they will dry up. A friend of mine who DID grow up on a farm says they had a well at one time, but when they hooked up to city water they covered it up for safety and also so they would have a water supply for emergencies. It turns out that after a few months, their old well was empty. Apparently, if you take nothing out, nothing will be drawn in.

The past few weeks this well (pointing to self) has run dry. I have put pen to paper and finger to keyboard, but nothing has come out. I have been told this does happen to people from time to time, and there certainly are times when I haven’t got much to say – but that’s never stopped me from filling 18 column inches in the local paper or 15 minutes of air time on Sundays, either! When duty calls, I have always been able to suit up and show up, for better or for worse.

But the past few weeks, the brain has just gone off on some flight of fancy. It is my hope it will return refreshed and renewed, but what if it doesn’t? What then?

Examining my life these past few months, I’ve discovered that I have actually been putting a lot of time into the mindless mundanery of life. I’ve been running on auto-pilot, not because I want to, but simply because that’s where the switch got flipped some time back while I was puttering along. It happens.

So, has anything changed?

I think so. First of all, I have become aware of the spiritual doldrums that have settled over me. No wind, no progress. A ship needs wind currents to make progress. When the wind stops, what can you do? You may sit and wait for it to return. If the wind doesn’t rise as expected or when needed, then one may simply row over to where he or she may find the wind making waves.

What exactly does that mean?

For me, it means changing directions. Rather than sitting passively by, I look for places where the wind is blowing. For me, that place is often found in books – books written by authors I appreciate and admire, and whose spirits and creativity restore me to life. They aren’t always “religious” books. In fact (don’t tell anyone), but they are more often than not, quite secular.

I don’t do pulp fiction, but I sometimes need a good novel – a story that will draw me into another world, time, and place. When I dip into something I know – in this case, words and stories – I find refreshment for my soul.

And that, I think, is the key to pulling out of the doldrums. Dip into something you know and just paddle slowly, quietly, rhythmically, and purposefully. You may find a breeze come up quite quickly and unexpectedly; other times it may take a lot of paddling, but that’s OK. It takes what it takes, and what’s the big hurry anyway?

There’s no problem pouring out one’s soul and spirit onto paper or onto a computer screen as long as one remembers to replenish their supply. Find people, places, and projects that give you life, and pass it on. It will make one “well” of a difference in your journey in and through this, our valley.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bible Sunday

Fr. Keith compares and contrasts several different visions of how the Bible can be read and understood, and suggests some ideas on how one might read the scriptures both faithfully and effectively.