The following italicized quotation is taken from the Forward Day by Day Meditation for 8/17/08:
“When I entered alcoholism recovery 25 years ago, I realized that while my drinking had been due to my foolish decision, it was also what drove me to my knees and into the arms of God. Somehow God was in it all along, from the beginning. It just took me awhile to see it.” (emphasis added by me)
I guess I sort of opened a bit of a can of worms with talk of my issues with discernment the other day. Once the can is opened, all that can happen next is to slam the lid back on, or allow the squirmy worms to go free.
I’m gonna let some worms squirm tonight.
I have ambivalent feelings these days about continuing to move ahead with diaconal discernment. There are many times where I believe that I had the wrong idea about the nature of the ordained diaconal order in the Episcopal church, or at least how it’s expressed in my locality, and resultantly, how it matches my gifts and God’s call to me. And there’s no reason to beat myself up about having started this pathway and now stepping off it; just accept it and move on, but alas, that inability to stop beating myself up for being wrong, or misreading signs and circumstances leads to the dark underbelly of an otherwise admirable trait in me of fidelity and commitment: a prideful reluctance to quit, even when it seems like the right thing to do. Among the things God is showing me I need work on through all of this.
But indeed, my feelings are genuinely and innocently ambivalent, so faithfully answering God’s call, acting on that thing I “can’t not do” makes it impossible to quit just yet. Could it be that I simply need to muster the courage to face my fears of possible rejection and drum up the confidence to state what I believe my “diaconal ministry” is, feeling neither apologetic for its seemingly small scope nor claiming undue “specialness” over it? Hard telling. Truthfully, today, doesn’t seem like much is even there to tell, but that’s another post’s story. But importantly, maybe it doesn’t make one whit of difference.
That may sound discouraged and disheartened, and part of it might well be just that, but part of it is, I think, quite spiritually mature and “together” about things. Cuz God’s in it all the time. And regardless of how well I succeed in articulating that in tonight’s and the planned follow-up posts that’s what I REALLY mean to say. It is simply this, loud and at the top of my lungs: God’s in it all the time.
As I type this entry, complicated thoughts and feelings and theories fill my head that go together logically for me, but might seem all over the board to one who is not inside my chaotic head. The two biggest themes seem to be:
- detached (but also, quite personally specific and very much *attached*) wondering about the persistence and unchangeability of God’s will in an individual’s life.
- I also marvel aloud and silently to myself at how this whole process has had God in it from the very beginning of the first inklings of wonder, regardless, really, of whether I’m called to the diaconate or not. And I give great thanks for that presence when I detach myself from the struggling and the unanswered questioning. I give great thanks that it has been and continues to be the means of my own version of being driven to my knees in contact with God. That is not to be sneezed at, regardless of the direction in which all this goes if and when it ever achieves closure.
So maybe just having laid that out on the table is enough for this entry. God’s been in it from the beginning, regardless of the wisdom or folly of the decisions I’ve made and am continuing to make.
Which brings me to my other theme: my wonderings about the persistence of God’s will in the life of an individual. I’ll write more another night. For now, let me just throw out a bit of wondering questions.
Do you believe God can be surprised, and still have his will be carried out the way he desires? Or do you believe that the will is all figured out, and nothing surprises him, when it appears as though things are not going his way that he’s got “a plan” already and no matter. Or maybe you believe he knows when we’re going to mess up, and thus, also not surprised? (a la many people’s beliefs about Judas’s role in the crucifixion of Jesus)
I don’t suppose I have many readers out there, and fewer still who might feel like publicly taking a stance on such a question, but I’ll give you some time to mull it over anyway before I jump back into my opinion blathering.
May God’s peace be with you in abundance! – Karla