Sunday, June 12, 2011
I Heart Pentecost
Three years ago on Pentecost, I was packing up my belongings which would all fit in my sister's Honda Civic (some of which would go on my now brother in law's lap who was riding with us) and leaving the place that I called home in St. Louis (aka-the convent). I moved in with my sister (who happened to also live in St. Louis- no coincidences!) for about three weeks and then flew back home to Ohio to try to figure where the Lord wanted me next.
Only a week or two into being home in Ohio, I had landed a job in DC and been asked by my current roommates to move into a house with them in MD. The Holy Spirit had moved quickly! So it took me TWO car trips at that time and I moved all of my belongings to DC.
The Holy Spirit and I have this ebb and flow relationship, I am finding. It took me a good 2-3 years to discern religious life before entering. It took me a good 2 years to find the comfortable role I have now teaching. These are the ebb moments, I imagine. The Holy Spirit moving away for whatever reason to do His work and taking His time to show me the next thing. But the Holy Spirit can also whisk me away, like the moment mentioned above.
Now here I am, sitting amid boxes again, this time that will necessitate a truck, but I doubt will fill it. I pretty much have the same few possessions, except for a bedroom set of my own now and definitely more clothes :) I found my new living situation rather quickly, so I'm wondering if I'm in for another ebb moment or entering into another realm of some kind of discerning.
During those three weeks that I lived with my sister Janet in St. Louis between the convent and moving back to DC, I walked each day to Mass at a Church within walking distance of her apartment. I did the same thing today, only this time to my new parish in VA, and I realized I have been within walking distance to a Church for the past 5 years of my life. In Leesburg, in St. Louis, in MD, and now back to VA. The Lord knows I need Him close in these transitional moments.
So here we are, Pentecost- 3 years later. And I am once again moving. My current roommates, too, are moving on- both engaged. I move on to another community of holy women (also a trend for the past 4-5 years of my life!) I am not sure what all the connections and cycles mean, but I do now see that this is how the Lord works in my life. Quick when things need to happen quickly, and sometimes super slowly when it's a decision that will bear much weight on my ministry or vocation.
He knows me. He knows I like to be productive and efficient when the goal seems clear and achievable. But I like to take my time when I'm not sure.
In my last post, I talked about some of the ways I know there are no coincidences; that everything is a part of his plan. These bookends to the past few years of my life also show this.
One of the examples of these "bookends" is rather humorous.3 years ago, when I returned to DC I had about 2 months before the house in MD was available for us to move in. So I stayed at a friend's condo who was living in a religious community (discerning at the time- now professed!) and had the condo available. I didn't have much stuff (like I said- two car trips!) and he had shut off the cable, so I remember coming home from my days at my new job and watching his "Arrested Development" dvds.
(Gob and Tobias respectively :)
I now sit at a house with not much stuff and no cable as I wait for my new roommates to move in. I watch my OWN collection of "Arrested Development" dvds though now, as my friend had turned me onto the series because of the move 3 years ago.
It may seem like a stretch, but I see Bookends. No coincidences.
When I was teaching my students last week and we were going over the final chapter from the text which sets up how Christ fulfills the covenants of the Old Testament, I straight up asked the kids, "do you think we are grasping for straws with some of these parallels? Are we reading TOO much into the details?" For example, the fact that Moses' first sign to Pharaoh was changing water into blood with the first plague and then Jesus' mirst miracle would be water into wine, and then eventually wine into His Blood. Are we stretching it?
The fact that Isaac had to carry the wood for His sacrifice which he was going to go through with willingly because his father asked him to...is that too much for us to say is like Christ?
12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles...part of a plan or part of a Biblical technique? I could go on and on as the Bible is full of these typologies. Some for literary sake, but at some point we have to use our faith and say- no coincidences.
I question these things myself. At some points in my life, I don't want to see or believe the parallels or typologies. I don't want to think they are part of a plan. But at this point in my life- and at the time I was discerning religious life- I matched each and every one of those signs up and believed because I wanted to. The Holy Spirit helps us to do this.
So as I transition once again this Pentecost, it may seem like I haven't moved much. Like I said when I started this post, three years ago, my brother in law was just my sister's boyfriend and now he's also the father of my nephew! Phew! For some, the Holy Spirit moves quickly! But 1.) we can't compare ourselves to others and 2.) I know that I have done alot- transitioned from religious life, worked for a non-profit, traveled, started graduate school, ministered to friends, volunteered, dated- and most importantly, I am confident I am where God wants me to be because He has given me these affirmations, these "coincidences" which I know are not just that, but a part of His plan.
Father was saying in His homily on Pentecost today how crazy the apostles must have looked when they received the Holy Spirit. People thought they were drunk! (It's in Scripture!) And how we, too, look crazy sometime when we go with the flow of the Spirit. But Father pointed out that with the Spirit, it is a "sober intoxication". Sober because it should be peaceful. And intoxicating because it does seem crazy at times to do what the Spirit asks. We have to surrender and let Him be in control. We have to surrender to let Him take over- that's what intoxication is- letting something else take control over us.
I do feel the peaceful "sober-ness" of the Spirit (to continue with Father's metaphor) and I think I'm ready again to become intoxicated (wait for it )...with His Spirit. COME ON! I know there are SO many intoxicated jokes I could make, but this is a SERIOUS blogpost, if you couldn't tell! (You can read my infamous Seafoam post if you want to remember me at my punchiest. Today's just not that day :)
Anyways, AHEM. I'm open to what He wants to do next. Come Holy Spirit, Come.
As for the immediate future, these next couple weekends are going to be blessed for sure. Last year, I got to see one of my friends from NET become ordained for our diocese. This year, I'm going to attend the ordination of oe of my very own teammates from NET in the Richmond diocese! I'm soooo happy for my friend because he is one of the holiest guys I know and will be a beautiful priest. It is bittersweet for him, though, as his brother just recently passed away. Please keep him, his vocation, and his family in your prayers.
And the following weekend- the last weekend in June- brings about the first week of Workcamp already! I've been blessed to volunteer with this camp for the past several years and I always wonder why my friends and I love volunteering for this camp so much. I have come to find that it is because it's a week lived how Christ wants us to live- in simplicity, in community, serving others, and taking time in prayer and worship together.
The Holy Spirit is already doing such great things. And I'm excited for what's to come!