It is truly amazing what difference a day can make in your perspective on things.
Sunday I was angry all day. As I’ve noted, I’m on the Search Committee at our church, looking for a new rector. At our last meeting, the committee all agreed that, when we take our interviewees for a meal, the parish should pick up the whole tab. Well, we all agreed except one – the chairman, who was already annoyed because we had not agreed with him about the location to conduct the interviews. So Sunday morning, he decided to take it upon himself to go to the vestry, which has already allocated money for this purpose and delegated the authority of the search to the committee, to tell them he was worried about spending too much of the parish’s money if we pay for the committee to eat too. He did this without letting the committee know he was going to do it. He held a committee meeting at coffee immediately afterward to let us know that he had made arrangements for the interview and never mentioned going to the vestry.
My outrage was about trust, or lack thereof. Who did he think he was, going “over our heads” because he didn’t like the committee’s decision? Would he do the same thing when it came to the candidate to be recommended? Did he have a direct pipeline to God now?
I called a member of the committee that I trust to keep my ranting confidential and she was kind enough to let me vent – it’s important to do that if you don’t want to pop a cork, as it were. She agreed that it was underhanded and sneaky.
After we hung up, I was still pretty steamed! Fuming, kind of like the vents on the side of a volcano. But I decided to keep praying on it and not talk to anyone else.
Monday morning, all hell broke loose. Not about the committee. It was the phone call from my Lakota friends in South Dakota that set this day in motion. I heard news of poverty, joblessness, fear of being homeless, teens and drugs, rape, no education. I heard the pain in my friend’s voice and felt the pain in her heart. I was 1,859.17 miles away and that distance made the pain in my heart worse. I could not comfort her, except to listen to her tears.
I spent much of the rest of the day searching for ways to help my friends. I have been in that place before – when your mind and your heart are so full of thoughts and pain and panic that there’s seems to be no way to go. It’s like being claustrophobic inside yourself.
I had one thing that they don’t have. Not money, not even family support. I had faith in God. For a reason known only to God, I have been blessed with a faith that has not needed to be “worked on.” It is a faith that God will provide whatever I need (note, that’s need, not want). Over 55 years it has been true. When I get into a place like they are in, I sit down and read the Bible – Psalm 27, Matthew’s version of the Sermon on the Mount. And I am reminded of all the times I have been provided with an answer or the way out. Like a free furnace when I was a single parent with no child support. Like the Asperger’s group here in New England that sent out news of the state program to help adults with Asperger’s find and retain a job. The list goes on and on. Over the years, I have learned some patience and stayed calmer in the face of life’s craziness than I did when I was young. The more the Lord provides, the more you trust He always will.
My friends don’t have this solace. They are Christians in name, though not really in practice. They do not practice the Lakota ways very seriously either. I won’t try to convert or even convince them, in the midst of these trials, that good can ultimately come from any situation if you look to God for guidance. It wouldn’t work. But it makes it harder to convince them that bad things won’t keep happening. When people experience so many difficult things, they come to have faith in the negative things happening, not the good things. So I continue to pray for all of us right now.
That brings us to today, the day of our Search Committee meeting. The fiery anger I had was gone. It’s replaced with a quiet resolve to speak my mind, but as St Paul notes, “Speak the truth in love.” We all know there are always multiple approaches to a given situation. Thanks to looking at life through the prism of yesterday’s problems, I have again found the balance to work at the Committee’s problems with a fresh outlook.
I’m writing early today, so I can use some of this day for prayer and meditation. My fibromyalgia will thank me for that. 2 days of stress, even if caused in different ways, can very easily trigger a fibro flare. A little quiet time will counteract that (hopefully) and keep me on an even keel as we approach the holidays.