Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bind them continually upon your heart

One of the things that the Lord hates, indeed, of the seven that are an abomination to Him; A proud look, the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others. Proverbs 5:16-17
There’s a lot of stuff in Proverbs that no matter how slowly I read through it, the Holy Spirit doesn’t stick out the proverbial foot and ask me to pause and consider. Really, this is the section with the cautions to the sluggard who will not arise from his bed.  And the pain of debt. And the wayward woman with her mincing footsteps.
Yet.
I confess.
I confess to this abomination, this that God hates.
How quickly I leap into judgment. Glance. Snap. Click. Popping people into their place.
And those quiet moments. Whether it is leaning up against the boulders at the Mt. Lemmon cabin watching the sunrise dribble down among the pine trees while fifteen science students sort of sleep, like little sardines laid out on the living room floor or hunched in the bus seats for fear of bears, mountain lions, and well, yes, caterpillars. Or wandering through the creosote plants across Country Club past the seven-car garages. Or standing in line yet again at Fry’s grocery store.
These quiet moments will be filled.
And I can choose what it will be. Underestimating my neighbor, not giving enough weight or consideration to my neighbor’s struggle through the mire of life. Not noticing the weariness and trembling fingers, but rather noticing eggs being packed into the bottom of the grocery bag. 

And I can look at the iPhones tucked into the waistbands of short shorts and one-sip-then-tossed water bottles scattered across the mountainside. Or I can remember the teenage angst of belonging, haunted by the dread of inadequacy. Still shared by grownups. Each of us.
Or I can choose to open up my own dark corners. He is standing at the door knocking. 

Come in gentle Savior. Come in. Please linger and help me sort through my own self, my own willful and contrary heart, one that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, and that sows discord among the brethren. 

And I am not sure what He will say to me as I make this summer’s pilgrimage following the paths of Paul and Francis and James. But I am very sure that He has laid it out from the beginning of time. May I be listening.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

And Wikipedia says that this prayer is widely but erroneously credited to St. Francis, but it matters not. Like so many before me, and around me, and those who will follow, It is the cry of my heart. The cry of my heart to follow You.