Friday, April 4, 2014

Lenten pilgrimage--we discover the way forward step by wondering step

Discovering the way forward step by wondering step,

Only in the looking back do I discover where I was going….

Is it another of those tensions? One of those contrary juxtapositions in which things that seem paradoxical are both true? A mystery of God? God is One, yet Three. We dwell in the already/not yet of Christ’s first and second coming. We die, yet we live. Do we who belong to Jesus also dwell in the make-plans-set-goals-pursue-dreams/let-it-unfold? 

Or is it simpler than that? More counter the culture of this world? Is it that all our plans, dreams and understandings of call need ever to be held loosely, open to the unexpected journey?

When to hold fast to the plan and stay the course, to persevere, to see all else as distraction and diffusion? When to mold our lives around the interruptions and the unexpected, to see them as God’s surprising illumination of a way our hearts and minds are too small to dream? So that we live to the full in God's better ideas? 

I auditioned to dance and then go on to graduate school, then married Curt Bidinger and moved to Saudi Arabia.

I married a school teacher, then lived for thirty years now with a petroleum engineer.

I planned a career in public relations in San Francisco, then worked in a law office in Alaska.

I assumed I would bear three children, then was named infertile.

I studied real estate, then found myself in law school.

I made commitments of a childless life, then bore two children.

I bought materials for homeschooling, then moved to Scotland where Caitlin thrived in great schools.

I took up ministry to young adults, then, transferred to a new country, discovered peers, working poor, and elderly.

I prodded and poked towards ministry doing legal aid, then was called to teach the Bible.

I looked to live the rest of life in our beloved Alaska, then moved to Abu Dhabi and later to Turkey to welcome the world.

Every threshold an opportunity I could not have dreamed. An unexpected turn that interrupted my best, prayed-much-about efforts to follow Jesus. Several I would not have chosen, but the choice was made for me. Every one a holy portal to joy, growth, and fruitful living.  I sit in our garden on this rocky hillside overlooking the Mediterranean and marvel that I live in an adventurously renovated contemplative prayer house surrounded by olive trees and enveloped in sounds of bird call, grazing sheep and goats and milkcows, and children at play down in the village square.

I don’t plan much anymore. Other than to love, welcome, serve, listen, and do the next thing that appears along the path of invitation. 

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