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September 2011
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Weekly Course Corrections

I sat at one end of the chapel bench and Howard sat at the other with our children in between. We were singing the opening hymn, all of us with books open in our laps. The requirement that the kids sing along for the opening hymn was a new one for our family, but through it the kids are learning that music can bring a special spirit to us. The song concluded and the heads of three kids bent back over their drawings. Supposedly they were also listening while they drew. I’m sure Kiki listened. Gleek listened sometimes. Patch listened if the speaker was telling an interesting story. Link did not draw. He sat quietly, which did not guarantee that he was listening. Whether or not they were paying attention, we were all there together for the first time in weeks. I look down the row at them, I can see the contentment in their bodies. Church is a good place for all of us and we are glad to be there together.

I closed my eyes and asked the same silent question I ask every week. It is a prayer of sorts, almost wordless as I reach out. It comprises several things from “any messages for me?” to “What should I be focused on this week?” to “What next?” or even occasionally a petulant “what now?” I don’t remember how long it has been that I’ve been making this overt weekly request. I think it began last year when I was pounded with unexpected inspiration several weeks in a row. I finally figured it might be better to just ask instead of waiting to be shouted at. I ask, and answers always come. It is a little frightening this receiving of answers. Sometimes I want to wrap myself in a little cloak of sameness. I don’t always want answers which may ask me to change or do some other difficult thing. But lately I have been glad of the answers, they help me set a path for the week to follow. I can’t see much beyond a week right now. However if I can get the week aimed right on Sunday, I can follow through long enough to get me to the next Sunday when I can adjust, change, or continue.

So I sat with my eyes closed and asked “What new thing shall I undertake this week? What am I to do with my time and energy?” Sometimes the answers are loud and clear, almost like being spoken to. Other times it is like I have to sort them from my own thoughts and it takes most of the meeting. Today the answer was so quiet I almost missed it, rather like a hand waving gesture which indicates “carry on.” I opened my eyes and looked down the row of my people. We’ve set a good course and it is time for us to do some calm sailing.

6 comments to Weekly Course Corrections

  • Ginger

    Sigh… …I tried this for awhile. I probably should have started before babies arrived so I could practice hearing. I had to give it up when the frustration due to being distracted by small boys tuned me so far out of the spirit that I was grumpy for the rest of the meeting. Though, maybe I can try it in Sunday school? That’s my only non-distracted meeting right now.

    • The years with young ones are really hard. Sometimes the only thing I got out of church was knowing that I’d demonstrated to the kids that church was a thing we did every Sunday. I’m not sure whether inspiration was harder to hear in those years or if there was just less silence in which to hear it. Hang in there.

  • Free-range Oyster

    Sandra, that’s wonderful to hear. I’m glad to know you’ve learned so well how to listen and receive inspiration. I spend most of the time needing a shout to get the slightest thing through; it makes me happy that you don’t have the same problem. It’s also good to know that your metaphorical family ship is on course and stabilized. Storms are great for growing, but they’re rarely pleasant.

    Ginger, I confess I’ve skipped a lot of Sunday School in the last year or two to sit in the foyer and sort through thoughts and inspirations. The oldest of my boys is five now, and the three of them are quite a handful after the first fifteen minutes or so. Take your serenity when and where you can find it!

  • Kerri Farrer

    I can have a really hard time with the church thing sometimes. We have had a really bad string of Sundays where I was yelling by the end stretch trying to get everybody out the door to church on time. I like the idea that the sometimes the only thing we might have gotten out of church was demonstrating that it is what we do on Sundays. It makes me think that maybe I was at least able to do that over a succession of not very peaceful Sunday mornings.

    • I really hate it when I shout us all out the door to church. It happens less now that the kids are older, but we still do not always leave the house with reverent or grateful spirits. You’re not alone there.