Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week and Monkey Mind

It’s Holy Week, but as usual, I’m having a hard time being holy. Oh, I put on a good show of religion. It’s a rare Sunday that you won’t find me in my favorite pew, worshipping with my church family. Most of the time, whenever the church doors open for an activity, I’m there. I even teach Sunday School. This is the third year in a row that I’ve given up desserts for Lent—and if that isn’t a serious spiritual discipline, I don’t know what is!

Still, I can’t quite pull off this holiness thing. Take walking the labyrinth, for example. In recent years, my church has offered a labyrinth for a few days during Lent. Each person follows a pathway toward the center of the labyrinth, which represents God’s presence. While walking in prayer and silent meditation, we try to release everything that keeps us from experiencing the presence of God. We seek to become fully present with the divine. Then, having experienced the healing and renewing power of God, we follow the path back to the beginning, ready to serve God and neighbor.

I love the idea. I really do. But if I were graded on labyrinth walking, I’d get a D. Each time I do this, my ADD gives me a severe case of monkey mind. You know—that chattering in your head as you jump from thought to thought like a monkey swinging from tree to tree. (And to demonstrate once more that I’m not joking about having ADD, I have to share a quote from Frank Coppola: “I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting . . . remarkably at the same time.”)

Back to the theme of this blog post . . . I try to focus on God as I walk the labyrinth, but without much success. So I keep putting one foot in front of the other, following the path that’s set before me. Sometimes I’m walking far from the center; sometimes I’m closer. This year I was surprised when all of a sudden, without noticing my proximity to the center, I arrived. It reminded me that many of the holy moments of my life have come when I least expected them.

Not all of my holy moments happen in church; in fact, most do not. But participating in a church gives me more of those times than I would otherwise experience. So tonight I’ll go to the Maundy Thursday service, and on Sunday I’ll be in my pew. I’ll continue to walk the path, struggling to quiet my monkey mind and hoping for glimpses of the holy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not So Reassured Now

For nearly 34 years, I've felt reassured by the fact that a fire station stands only two blocks from my house.

Lately, not so much. That fire station stands only one block from this house.

Do you have one of these handy?

Just saying.