"I'm torn between saving the world and savoring it, and that makes it hard to play in the day."
~ E.B. White, quoted by a friend on FB.
"Maybe [my younger self looking at me now would] notice the increased affection grounded in realism with which I speak of people, and the way I don't seem as often to speak dreamily of big life-changing programs."
"We entreat you: make us fully alive."
~ Eucharistic prayer of Sarapion of Thmuis, quoted in John Chryssavgis's In the Heart of the Desert.
One of St. Ignatius's favorite instructions with respect to prayer is to "savor" the experience, the engagement with God.
I believe that we in seminary should have given at least an afternoon seminar's worth of attention to each of these quotes.
I believe that they reflect what ministry is, at its core.
Yesterday, I put together some materials for a meeting with someone who didn't show up. I did a little research on a problem our church council needs to resolve next week. On a usual Wednesday, I would put the final touches on Sunday's liturgy, but I didn't get to that task. I drove a long way. I had an MRI. And I spent an hour with a young friend who's been hospitalized as a consequence of her struggle with bipolar disorder.
How to savor all of those moments of life?
Perhaps our calling in ministry is to learn to do so, and to teach others to do so as well.
I wonder whether I might still be practicing law if, as a young woman, I had learned in church to savor the moments of my life as places in which God was laboring, experiences in which God was delighting, events in which God was advancing hope.
And while it's most assuredly pushing the envelope, I wonder whether it might be not merely psychologically helpful but a matter of spiritual growth to savor life's most horrific moments (and as you know, I've had my share), the ones that become fodder for post traumatic stress syndrome ~ not, God forbid, in the sense of enjoyment, but in the sense of seeing God present and active in the most impossibly opaque of situations.