Longing vs. Call

I took a week-long seminar on the ministry of chaplaincy last week, and Friday's presentation was on military chaplaincy.  I'll be honest with you-- I kinda figured it would be an army chaplain, and that wouldn't matter very much to me.  (Yes, that's an obnoxious way of thinking about it.  Telling it like it is, folks.)  Instead, the chaplain was a Marine.

Not only did it knock the wind out of me, it pretty much sent me flying face-first into the gravel.  

Almost 48 hours later, I'm still getting my bearings back.  Military homesickness isn't geographical.  This seems almost impossible to explain to civilians, to non-brats.  There's a culture that's unique, and that disappears once a brat moves out of the house.  I very intentionally chose not to (ever, ever) date a military man (I married a Quaker, for crying out loud), and I sure as heck knew I wasn't looking for a commission.  I made a choice not to be part of that culture in adulthood.  But that means that my heritage has disappeared into a fog, and I really can't go home again.  Other people find that their hometowns change, but I don't have security clearance to get to my homeculture.  My heart's a little broken this weekend.  There are funny things like posture and style of speech and attitude that are specifically Marine things, and I haven't seen any of them in a very, very long time.   

But this is what I want to pay attention to:  sometimes there are longings and homesicknesses that are not the same as call.  Yearning isn't always a nudge from God.  Sometimes, it's just a memo that something's missing from your life.  There are values (like Semper Gumby--Always Flexible) that I can reincorporate.  There are leadership skills and confidence and honor that I can return to.  I can take this time to pay attention to the very full legacy that I have been given as a Marine brat.  


Wednesday Prayers: Writers Block

I've got an email backlog that's embarrassing. Worse than the embarrassment is the knowledge that my feeble correspondence isn't an adequate way to care for people dear to me. I'm genuinely ashamed.

I've got blog posts floating in pieces in my head-- hawks and Uriah Heap and preparation and and and et cetera. They're not so much floating, as zipping by like the snitch in Quidditch. I'm a little concerned that if I try to grab one, it'll take my hand off.  Plus, to be honest with you, some of my favorite people in what was once a beloved blogging community aren't writing anymore, and I'm not sure I see a point in writing without that precious conversation.

So, prayers for speech, please, and for liberated words.

How about you? Do you need a loosened tongue or a restrained one this week? Either way, how can I pray for you?


7 of the Day

You know how I've talked about the Enneagram a few times?  Well, I signed up for the "Enneathought of the Day" a month or two ago.  Augh.  It's great.. and terrible.  As Dave says (quoting Scrubs), "Get out of my head, devilwoman!" That pretty much sums it up for me, too-- they're reliably spot-on.  Some days, I love the tips for growth or word of encouragement.  Other days, I groan and think, "But life is easier when I do what I've always done."  Except, it's not really easier.  It's just more familiar.

Anyway, if the Enneagram is something you're interested in, head on over and sign up for the Enneathought.  They're free, and I've found them to be useful.  (They also make darn good journal prompts, if you need a way to get off the hamster wheel of your own nuttiness.)


Wednesday(ish) Prayers: Ouch

You know those days were someone has just walloped a tender part of your soul, maybe without having any idea at all they were doing it?  Part of you wants to be mature, and the other part wants to pop the heads off all their Barbies?  Dave is having a day like that, so if you could hold him in the light, I'd be awfully grateful.

How about you?  Are you feeling smacked around?  Or maybe there's a lingering grungy feeling telling you that maybe you smacked someone else around?  Either way, let me know, and I'll be glad to hold you in prayer, too.


Like A Dove

In yesterday's gospel reading, and this morning's pray-as-you-go meditation, I listened to the story of the baptism of Jesus, as told in Mark's gospel.  There's a lot in the story, but it's a very familiar one for most of us (I even preached on it a number of years ago).  We've got John not being worthy to loosen a sandal,  and Jesus being named God's beloved son.  It was a minor detail that grabbed my attention this time, though.  The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove.

Why like a dove?  And what does that even mean?  If you were on the riverbanks, what would have happened to make you report, "Wow, the Holy Spirit just came upon that guy like a dove!"?  What would you have seen?  It's a serious question, because it's a weird description.  Was there an actual dove that people took to be representative of the divine?  Or is it totally metaphor-- and if so, how do we understand the metaphor?

Doves are a symbol of peace to many of us, but if a dove landed on me, I'd be pretty startled.  Was the Holy Spirit startling?  Also, whenever I'm granted close proximity to a small creature, particularly a wild one, I'm conscious of needing to be very gentle, not to hurt or frighten it.  Is the Holy Spirit something we need to treat delicately?  

I popped over and checked out Old Testament references to doves.  We've got Noah's dove with the olive branch, some sacrifice instructions, and a good bit about a lover's eyes in Song of Songs.  Isaiah talks a little about the moaning of doves, and Hosea thinks the dove hasn't got any sense.  We could use those things to flesh out (feather out?) the image, or not.

Have you given any thought to the Holy Spirit descending like a dove?