A powerful, thought-provoking insight....

Give me a well-trained tongue that has been borne out of silent listening in the sanctuary of my heart.

~ sevensacredpauses by Macrina Wiederkehr

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lessons Learned

In March of last year, I was fortunate to take a class from Walter Brueggemann entitled "A Study in the Book of Isaiah." I consider myself fortunate because it was in that class that I found an understanding of life's ups and downs. Those times when everything, everyone falls apart and leaves me in a puddle of pain and discontent. Those times when seemingly out of nowhere, blocks start to fall into place and soon there is a bridge to somewhere out of my misery. Out of misery and into the bright light of love and hope. Brueggemann explained that it was a process of movement -- movement from a time of orientation, through a period of disorientation, and into reorientation. He explained that the place of reorientation is NOT just a repeat or return to the earlier time of orientation. Oh no...all that time spent in the throes of disorientation yields fruit -- good fruit. Brueggemann says that the time of reorientation is new, unexpected, a blessing, a gift -- blessed sunlight unlike no other day in a week of sunny days.

I am preparing once again for a class, this time on the spirituality of aging and we're going to be looking into the Psalms as a resource for this time of life. Well, guess what? We're reading Brueggemann's "The Psalms and the Life of Faith." Now, I'm finding this book a bit much for my brain. I have to admit that. However, in it, Brueggemann revisits the orientation/disorientation/ reorientation vision of looking at life, and I am so glad he does. I say that because I find myself in that terrific, sunny like no other day, place -- the reorientation. Now, if I'm in a place of reorientation, then...obviously I've been disoriented. Right?

Oh yeah! This fall. Boy. I don't even want to revisit this fall to attempt an explanation. However, suffice it to say that this fall was a tremendous period of disorientation for me. In my path to ministry -- in fact my spiritual journey in general -- as well as in my personal life. Yet, right now, I am reaping the benefits of making it through that period of disorientation. I'm slowly discovering all of the lessons learned. Slowly. There were a lot of lessons! Making this connection makes me that much happier. Why? Because, like so many people, while I was "in class" I was able to draw from my past for a few examples of what I felt had been periods of disorientation. But, I must admit that the examples I cited in my notes were no where as disorienting as this last fall. I think that's true because they were not of a spiritual nature.

My previous periods of disorientation were not of a spiritual nature because I simply hadn't applied myself as vigorously to my journey as I have recently. So, there wasn't much to be disoriented! I think this means that the deeper I go, the further down this path perhaps will find more frequent periods of disorientation. However, if each period of disorientation yields as much fruit as this one has, perhaps I can focus on the fruit and not so much on the pain of loss and confusion during the period of disorientation.

Perhaps. Somehow, I don't think that a period of disorientation yields as much fruit if we're aware of its happening. Not sure.

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