Tuesday, February 15, 2011
problematic green pebbles
A friend of mine posted this on her blog (http://wonderfulexchange.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/ah-yes/). She says, "This is from a different era, but funny none the less. Stick with it through the dull first bit. She's much more fun than he is." Watching it made me smile and reminded me of something that helped push me towards the religious life. Or pull me, as the case may be.
I really wanted to pray. And I kept being too busy. Or I'd take some time and then feel guilty that I wasn't grading that stack of quizzes and essays waiting for me back in my classroom. Or I'd finally get to the chapel, where I really loved to be when it was dark and quiet, and someone would be practicing the piano and I'd just go back to my work. Or I'd just get busy, and it would get too late, and either I'd try to pray and fall asleep, or I'd say, "Well, tomorrow. Tomorrow I will find the time."
So one of the first things I sought and then relished about our community schedule was that our prayer was built right into our schedule. Instead of running to my classroom when the bell rang (or starting class, etc.), I'd drop what I was doing and head for chapel. It helped me - and still does, of course! - get to where I wanted to go. Put the big rocks in first.
Now that I've been here ten years, I find this is still pertinent. Yes, chapel is scheduled, thanks be to God, so I can't miss it. And I am so grateful to have that outer push. I really admire those solitary religious who can do it all on their own; I will confess that I am just not that organized.
Now, God being my helper, I want to learn again how to do this with the rest of my day now that I have so much more responsibility than I did as a postulant and novice. After ten years, if I am not careful, I still find those little green pebbles getting in the way. There are the twin temptations of "Just one more thing..." and "I can quickly check this off my to-do list." Without mindfulness, I can easily slip into running from one task to the next (lots of little green pebbles!) without thinking about what is really important; conversely, I can also fall into what one Novice Mistress of days of yore used to call "the lust to finish."
When this happens, of course, my relationship with God and my relationships with sisters, friends and family are neglected.
Never mind getting enough sleep.
Perhaps what I need to do is watch this video regularly alongside the other reminders of a more clearly spiritual nature. And plan accordingly, putting the big rocks in first - and by the grace of God leaving them there instead of rearranging.
I will, with God's help.