Today, I feel like I am finally returning to the land of the living–been a while since getting sick laid me so low. But the meds are doing their thing. Now, the trick is to get all the way well.
I haven’t missed Sunday morning work because of illness in years. Today wasn’t a great day for this to happen–there have been some pretty significant events in the past week, both good and not so good. I had planned with some care how I would handle both in our community. I really like how Sunday mornings create a space every week for a kind of honesty and clarity that aren’t always possible in other places. After all, week after week we do the same thing: we remind ourselves how we fit into a far larger story than our own, we acknowledge how we have failed each other, failed ourselves and failed the One who is more ready to forgive and transform than we are willing to imagine, and then we gather around the table for a feast. You can work through a whole lot of failure and celebrate joyfully when that is the basis for meeting week after week. So different than punching in and punching out….
That said…I am aware of a major shift working its way through my understanding of my role and vocation. A friend describes it as the tension between total involvement and total indifference. Now, indifference has some pretty negative connotations in most circles. However, Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, describes a way of orienting ourselves to the world with “a complete indifference with regard to all created things, not preferring health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to humiliation, long life to a short one. We wish only for those conditions that will aid our pursuit of the goal for which we have been created.” Others might call this detachment, but I have come to see holy indifference as another way of describing that notion of Disponibilité, spiritual availability, that Gabriel Marcel writes so movingly about. It is hard for me to make myself available to my work, or my marriage, or just about any other aspect of my life, without wanting something in return. Holy indifference supposes that in God’s abundance, what I may need or desire will be provided for without my having to work feverishly and fearfully in any of those parts of my life. What I have to do is show up and do my best.
I won’t show up at church today. But some pretty wonderful people from our small faith community will work hard to ensure all goes well during today’s service. I have the rare privilege of getting to sit with my iPad, reading a bunch of different Sunday editions of newspapers I love. I had a delectable cup of coffee earlier and a simple breakfast. Since then, the pattern has been this: I read a while and then I nap for a bit, luxuriating in the Mallowman’s recliner that makes it easier for me to rest and breathe today. I am feeling better and I suspect I’ll be ready to go back to work tomorrow. However, I’ll admit I could get used to this way of spending a Sunday morning…