Friday, January 21, 2011

Choosing the Way of Faithfulness

The bears are right—winter is the time to sleep, with occasional forays for food. Although I live in a place where winter often means snow—and this year there’s a lot of it—my preference for hibernation is sorely challenged by commitments to work and church. I tend toward one of two extremes when facing the prospect of driving in the winter. “Just try it and see,” is the one I use to coax myself out of a warm house. I’m not too proud to turn back if it’s bad, because my other mantra is, “You are not delivering the serum that will save the village.”

            This morning the radio announcer said it was icy out, always a warning signal for me. Then again, I know that he’s  in the studio for a shift that begins at 6 a.m.; by the time I would need to leave for quilting and Wednesday healing Eucharist, the roads would have been salted and traveled. I still didn’t want to go; it was one of those mornings when I question what difference my presence or absence might make to anyone.
            Still, I’d gotten up and written my morning pages (a three-age mind dump, courtesy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way); breakfast-with-psalms was next in my morning routine. When my rational mind takes over, I realize the absurdity of believing that a word penned thousands of years ago to another people might be God’s word to me on a snowy January day. Nevertheless, I’ve been taught that God does speak through the Scriptures, and I find that idea comforting. When I read Psalm 119:30, “I have chosen the way of faithfulness,” I knew I’d just have to try the roads, even if they were, most likely, drifted over.
            Choosing the way of faithfulness is a series of lifelong small decisions, what Presbyterian minister Eugene Peterson has aptly called “a long obedience in the same direction.” Choosing the way of faithfulness is its own reward, although sometimes those rewards don’t look like much.
            I’d like to report that something big and miraculous happened while I was at church, that I was clearly the right person there at the right time. But it was just another Wednesday, with a few of us gathered to eat and drink together, just the common grace.

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