This has been quite a couple of weeks. Last week, I was reeling with disappointment and sadness after watching the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. My heart ached. I was angry. I felt conflicted. And all of those emotions are still there, but I found solace and strength in seeing the huge numbers of clergy and laity who have responded in similar outrage and sadness. My sadness has slowly started to turn to hopefulness, hope founded in a renewed vision for the church, hope founded in an unwillingness to stay silent any longer.
Then came this week. I cannot even tell you how many wonderful things have happened this week. It's amazing the difference a week can make. This week, things just started happening. But as I examine each thing, I realize these are not sudden graces. I've been working on and toward all of these things for weeks, months, sometimes years.
Sometimes I am so short-sighted. My emotions hinge on what is happening right here, right now, rather than seeing the long picture. I am focused on the path I am on, one step at a time, and when that path is rocky or steep or my feet hurt or I'm out of breath and energy, like any human, I get discouraged. Some might call that mindfulness, or living in the present, but that's not true. Mindfulness is being in the moment, then letting it go in order to experience the next moment. I was bogged down in the previous moment.
My plan is to try to focus more on the big picture, and to see how the small things, the habits and practices of each day, are either furthering me on the journey or wasting my energy. What difference does one set back make if I am making steady progress in the right direction? What difference does one General Conference make when so many are throwing off the constraints of church politics and flinging open the doors of our churches in love?
This week, I wish for myself and for all of you, that we look past the immediate to see the graces afforded us every day. To feel the pain of the pebble in our shoe, and to understand that it's okay to stop for a moment, remove it, and then keep walking.
Hoping to see you on the hike.