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Annie Turner

Annie Turner
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Friday, September 16, 2011

FRITTERING AWAY TIME--A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

As I spent an inordinate amount of time this morning just puttering around, I began to wonder--is there a kind of deep, beyond words sense in this activity? Does it take me places I might not want to go? Here's a description of this morning's typical "activities":
--make coffee; drink coffee; restore psychotic cat's water; let terrier out; let terrier in again; check email (am I popular enough? Why isn't there more mail in my inbox?); run downstairs and reassure carpenter that I absolutely love what he is doing to our porch and write large check for his wonderful work; run back upstairs; check email; look at BustedHalo blog and think about what Phil Fox Rose wrote about waiting patiently as a spiritual exercise; checked into Therese Bochard's blog, "Beyond Blue" on Beliefnet.com; wonder if I might be depressed; check out ways to deal with depression...perhaps I need more strong, black coffee? You get the picture. It's not pretty.
But this is what I think MAY be happening below all of this seemingly aimless activity: I'm maintaining a home which offers a welcome to a number of people. It is like the earth that Anteaus touches when he needs to be strong again. I'm respecting the "isness" of my dog, how she has needs in her life that are not my own. I am cherishing a very old, tatty cat who still has life in her; her affectionate wheezing purr remind me of my imperfections, of the things that are less than ideal in this world and in my life--she teaches me to be more tolerant (even though I wish her litter box were not part of this equation...). I wonder about why I am so worried about my popularity; Jesus wasn't concerned with His. Mary wasn't. Joseph wasn't. Oscar Romeo wasn't, just for starters. I can't add another iota to my "status" in this world by worrying about it. It is one hell of a useless activity, so try and discard this one! Reading Therese Bochard's blog reminds me about the fragility of so many of our citizens; that people I know are struggling with bipolar disorder, with OCD, with fear of heights, with fear of so many things. It makes me more compassionate to read her words and reminds me that I am blessed to have a mind that works--at least, most of the time. And telling our carpenter, an old friend, that his work is valued and wonderful--how bad is that? It is clearly part of my "Ministry of Kindness" which I wrote about in an earlier blog posting. I think our ability to praise others is way, way less than it should be. And reading Phil's blog reminds me that there are other souls out there who are searching for a spiritual life, who struggle to interpret the daily events as messages from God.
Ok. This is definitely a spiritual process. I don't say "discipline," because it isn't. And it certainly is not going to earn me any money by writing a book or doing what I "should" be doing (which is writing a Historical Note for my picture book on Sojourner Truth). But what strikes me is this: what looks like random pieces in my day are actually little messages--if I listen, if I look. I'm being shaped, in spite of myself. Something--somebody--is calling me to greater growth, compassion, tolerance, and reverence for life. How bad is that?
Now, I'm going to go read the Lessons for today, pray some, and remember that this isn't about me. Not ever. Or, as I walked my terrier two days ago, worrying about whether I was becoming the person God wanted me to be, the line came firmly into my mind: "Annie, you already are the person I created you to be." It doesn't get any better than that!