Slapped Back into Proper Perspective

Coming down from the mountaintop that is a week off from church, I was starting to feel the weight of the world: junior high meeting to plan, high schoolers to get to know better, worship, giant list of things I really should do but keep putting off (find a spiritual director, run regularly, make more time to pray, make some friends who aren’t from church, sort through the piles of books in the basement, read the piles of books in the basement, actually create a good budget), think of something brilliant to say on the blog, Christmas knitting to complete, figure out how to balance my life as mom and as minister, pester the landlord about the leaky roof…

And then a few things happened:

I took a two hour walk with the baby, listening to sermons on my iPod (worrying the whole time that people would look and say, “What an irresponsible mother, walking with her baby but tuning her out with the iPod.”) And I heard a sermon on Solomon by Jack (one of the great undiscovered preachers, as far as I’m concerned). There was a lot in there about humility before God, what we ask for in prayer, and what is ultimately important to us. Slap.

Toward the end of the walk, some guy tried to turn left into the pedestrian lane where I (and my obvious baby stroller!!!) clearly had the right of way. I started thinking about what an entitled jerk this guy was. And, true confession here, how his self-entitled-suburban-self could possibly be so important that he couldn’t watch for ME-MYSELF-AND-ZORA in the pedestrian lane, we who were so righteously walking and not contributing to the destruction of the earth with our car, the urban-dwelling-enlightened folks that we are…Oh, wait a minute. We live in the suburbs, too. We drive our car. I left the lights on before we left home. Remember that stuff in the sermon about humility? Slap.  

My good friends from seminary had a baby two weeks after me: Samara, she’s 3 months old. Her name means, “watched by God”. The author who Zora is kind-of-named-after wrote a book called Their Eyes Were Watching God. I think our babies were meant to be buddies, and someday exchange stories about growing up with pastor-mamas. My dad called last night with this news: Samara’s in the hospital with cancer. Slap.

My friend Susan’s posts about her non-ministry work during a detour in her path to ministry reminded me that my vocational calling is no higher than anyone else’s. Slap.

And then the lectionary psalm for the day, 102, includes this dear, sweet, thought:

I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places.

A little owl, not big and mighty, out in the wastes, wailing on its own, completely reliant on God’s provision for what it needs.

How different from me: so concerned and overwhelmed with every little detail of life, so wrapped up in my own significance and self-worth, fluffing my feathers, too busy to wail to God for what I need, to eager to wait for what God will send my way.

So this is my prayer as I return to church on Sunday:

God, let me be a little owl.

One Response to “Slapped Back into Proper Perspective”

  1. Samara and the Psalms | Erica Schemper Says:

    [...] In December, my friends Heidi and Tim found out that their baby daughter, Samara, has cancer. Because she is so close in age to Zora, and because Heidi and Tim are so dear to me, she’s been much on my mind. Last weekend, I got to visit her for the first time. [...]