Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm not all bad; I'm a faithful sinner

Yesterday was Rachel Day. With snow finally falling, I set out with Dave Matthews playing on my iPod and a head full of thoughts. I've never had so many events to keep straight between work and community, and the multiple sheets of scrap paper notes covering my desk made it clear: I needed a planner. I hoofed it all the way to Target. It was cold and windy, but the time alone allowed me to breathe and think after the Thanksgiving rush and the funky sleep schedules it left in its wake.

With that done, it was time for my very first spiritual direction. Through MercyWorks, we volunteers have the chance to meet with a spiritual and/or professional mentor. I already had an informational interview with a professional development mentor a few weeks ago (she writes a whole bunch for Mercy Home), so I was excited to also have a spiritual director.

Spiritual direction has a super long history that I'll leave to you to research, but a better name for it would be spiritual conversation. Because mostly, we just talked. She asked me how I found out about Mercy Home and about my background and every now and then she would repeat what I had said and ask a clarifying question about it, or rephrase it, or somehow help me make sense of what I was saying. It was a little scary how good she was at sorting out my thoughts.

I left remembering why I came here in the first place: to do direct service. After 16+ years of school--study, theory, reflection, reading and writing--I wanted action. I chose a year of service because I specifically did not want more school (yet), I wanted practice, experience, and to dig myself into the world I'd spent so long learning about. When I took that risk (considering my comfort with theory and my discomfort with practice), I got frustrated that my spirituality felt weird. My mind and body made the leap from theory (school) to practice (full-time job), but my spirit, my faith, failed to make the switch. Of course I feel a disconnect between what I've been doing these past 3 months and my relation to God.

Because I'm no longer reading and writing as much as I used to, but instead interacting with coworkers and the guys at Mercy, I need to readjust my spirituality as well. My spiritual director called it being a "contemplative in action": recognizing God moments as I work, in the moment. That's not how I operate. I reach epiphanies with alarming delay. Still, I committed to trying it out, practicing the practice. I'll let you know how that works out for me.

(Actually, I got a chance to practice being in the moment as soon as I got home. For our Community Night, we had group yoga, which is all about letting go and focusing on breathing. It felt awesome, but I'm definitely sore today.)

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