I am on vacation with Henri Nouwen. His book, Turn My Mourning Into Dancing, has drawn me into his awareness of God's active relationship with us human beings. Whether men or women God continues to call out to us in the midst of our grief-stricken lives. He calls out to us with His infinite love knowing that if we "hear" Him and turn towards Him that our suffering will be lessened. What Henri discovered through the course of his own life and through the "hearing" and the "seeing" of the suffering of the ill people he ministered to is that all of our lives our suffering. Human life suffers because there is sin in our world...there is sin in the form of poverty, there is sin in the form of injustice, there is sin in the form of greed, in the form of illness, in dying and death. There is sin in the form of confusion and fear, violence and disappointment. There is sin in the form of fighting and bullying; in the form of any type of activity that harms the dignity of ones self and others.
We were not created to live sinful lives that needed death and resurrection as an entrance into our eternity. We were created to love God and in loving Him we loved all around us for within everything else we heard and saw Him. So how well are we doing at this today? Where is it we go to reflect on this Truth and to examine ourselves, our conscience? Jesus called His disciples "away" to pray and reflect on what they were being taught by Him. He calls us, too, as His followers to understand the sense, through faith, that we need to have intentional "going away" time or we will fall into the devilish trap of being completely spiritually depleted.
As I sit in the midst of the love of my son and his wife I read the words of Christ written by Henri and I realize with greater depth the joy of this blessing in my life. God's presence comes to me through them, their animals, their home, their care for me, the natural surroundings of where they live and I find that I have needed this respite more than I knew. I was beginning to forget how important it is for me to sit in the silence and just know that God loves me, the ME He created and understand that the ME cannot be subject to what others think I should have been or should be. It needs to be fed by Him and I together. The work that I have to do is to reflect upon this and discern what gets in the way of this absolutely Divine, intimate relationship.
Today I went on my e-mail account and saw the e-mails from my daughter's teachers. Their new system of quick, accurate testing and current grade responses are formulated to inform and enlighten all who view them. The other day when I went over them with my daughter I saw her tears in that she was given these grades that were less than her total beginning 9th grade experience. She had tried so hard to encounter this new High School experience with grace and the assuredness that she would learn wonderful new things. The studies were hard and she knew she would have to focus to keep herself balanced with her school work, her family life, and her need for fresh air in the form of bicycling. I do not think either her or I were expecting what felt like an immediate grading of her new experience. What I saw was the flogging of her spirit. Her whole experience was being graded by this computerized system of instant communication. My eyes saw and my spirit felt that this is not a healthy way for her. Some how, some way I need to giver her permission to not live this way, to live in the life of the spirit and the love of God and to learn enough about herself that she can reflect on whether or not she is doing the best she can with the gifts that she has been given. I want her to be able to problem solve the techniques of problem solving and that will require quiet time with God in prayer where He opens wide the infinite possibilities and the "ah ha" moments occur.
In future years sociologists will write about how all of our technological advancements affected our lives, both outwardly and inwardly. There will be studies and volumes that will sit on bookstore shelves trying to make sense out of what the societal movements were and judgment will come in the form of whether or not the populace was "better off" for it. Many volumes will account for the many definitions of "better off". Future generations will study our actions in the classroom and will decide which ways need to be relinquished because of their inadequacies. I write this and my soul cries "God have mercy".
For today I will bring myself back to Henri and his writings on relationship with God and how the world, even an extremely knowledgeable, instantaniously communicating world, needs to "Be still and know that He is God" for communication like all worldly things can become an idol to replace Him if we are not intentionally choosing what we focus our lives on. We have permission from Him to not let anything, ANYTHING come between Him and us. I will be telling my daughter to turn all of this communication off. We will watch over her grade at Mid Term but the days between will be more relaxed and focused on healthy living, not on communication overload. Her focus needs to be on her spirit and God's Spirit and that will only take place in the "going away" of Christ. Blessings...