Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Spiritual Director Asks Us to Describe Our Relationship with the Divine

At Synod Assembly, I went to a workshop on improving one's prayer life. The woman in charge of the workshop, a spiritual director, asked us to describe our relationship with the Divine by writing in the tiny notebooks that she gave us.

I wrote what first came to mind, and I share it here, in case it provides comfort to anyone else feeling the same way. I wrote, "My relationship with the Divine is the same as my relationship with everyone else in my life. God calls, and says, 'Let's do lunch.' I say, 'Let me look at my calendar. I'm really overbooked. I don't really have any time until June at the earliest.' I'm afraid that God will stop issuing invitations."

I volunteered to share my writing, and I saw people nodding around the room. Another woman spoke to agree with me; she's got 4 children.

I feel like I don't have any excuse really. I don't have children, and while my job does require my on-campus presence for 40 hours a week, most Americans are working far more hours. It's not like I have tons of friends in the area.

Still, there it is, the way I really feel. People around the room offered suggestions: wake up early (if they only knew how early I already wake up), carve out 15 minutes at some point during your day, pray at red lights.

I think that these comments miss my larger point. I'm feeling frazzled for some reason, and that frazzledness leaves me unable to focus on what is important to me: my relationships with other humans and my relationship with God. Carving out 15 minutes isn't going to solve that. O.K., maybe it's a start, but it's a band-aid. A little, tiny band-aid. I'd like to figure out the larger issue. Is it a time management issue? Something gone awry with body chemicals issue? Some larger dissatisfaction that I haven't even let my conscious self think about?

Is this what a 21st century midlife crisis looks like?

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