I have a full week between my J-Term studies and my Spring Semester studies to enjoy a little bit of a break. I don't know if I will stay away from all of my reading the entire week, but I am going to try.
Meanwhile, here is a reflection from this past week and month.
Primarily my January was consumed with Contemporary Theology. I traveled to Florida for the intensive on campus class. I came back home to finish my readings, take the tests, and turn in assignments. I finished all requirements this past week. Some folks took the tests online. Others of us took paper tests because there had been some glitches with the online. It took me 10 hours to complete Test 1 and 5 hours to complete Test 2. Thorough tests! Pedagogically speaking, Test 2 was a good test. The class was a very interesting and insightful one. The readings will be helpful resources for the future. That was my final required on campus class and therefore my final J-Term course. Graduation is nearing!
January included the celebration of a milestone birthday for my Dad on January 8. Woo hoo!
I attended two life celebrations in January, one on January 2 and one on January 22. Throughout the month, I thought about my grandmother Meemo and her passing last January. She was the grandparent that I got to know for the longest amount of years because she is the most recent to pass. Because of that and because of my involvement in the aging and dying process, I carry many memories.
January also brought the due date for the commissioning paperwork for Holston Conference. It was due to be postmarked no later than January 5. Since I would be in class that day, I knew I had to have mine mailed prior. Since I was leaving town on the 3rd, that meant the 2nd. On the 2nd I found myself making copies and getting to the Post Office prior to the funeral / life celebration I mentioned earlier. It was one of those days when lines were long everywhere and the copiers weren't doing what they normally do. It was an opportunity for me to keep my cool and keep moving on. Life brings on interesting challenges at times. ☺
Wednesday evenings settle my soul through the Mid-Week Vespers reflection service. This week was no different. This week's theme was "Saying Yes to God". One of the things we were asked to do was to pick a picture from the ones offered that spoke to us of saying yes to God in response to calling. The one that stood out to me? RISK.
I don't know exactly what this calling of "risk" means, but I do know that I want to live all out, with all that I have each day. I want to be open, vulnerable, do what I can, be who I am, etc.
It struck me earlier in the week that my goal is 'making the most of everyday', living life to the fullest, being intentional about it, living life in the present. I want to be open to the opportunities that God brings my way to be involved in the lives of others. This means making time for silence and solitude so I can hear the One voice. It means listening and obeying. I don't always get it right. I fall short. But, it is a goal.
Part of my January adventures revealed that my blood level is low again. I tried twice this month to give blood. As an O-, I love to donate blood as often as allowed. But, my body isn't allowing me to right now. I am listening to my body. I am adding iron to my daily intake in multiple ways. Not being able to give blood did explain why I felt tired most of the month and why I was having difficulties concentrating on my reading. It wasn't just because it was theology. ☺ Anemia is sneaky. I have been there once before. The doctors never found a reason for it.
Because I can only do from that which I am, it is important for me to "be". Therefore, I am listening to my body and resting when tired, increasing iron, etc. I am reminded once again that we are body, mind, and soul.
My "being" continues to flow out of study, time with spiritual director, worship in community during the week, time with spiritual friends, exercise, etc. These aspects of the journey strengthen me for the "doing" parts.
January has blessed me with some wonderful opportunities for doing, for sharing God's love and light into the lives of others and I am grateful for that.
Yesterday was a day of adventure and learning in which I joined some others and we went out to take lunch bags and coffee to folks around town. We found a few people, but not at the camps. We visited some camps that were new to me. We found one camp that I thought was there but had been too chicken to find by myself last month. I met some wonderful folks with beautiful smiles and great senses of humor as we shared the food and coffee with them. It seems like so long ago when I first started helping out with Forrest Avenue and their ministry. And it was. I look forward to seeing how God continues to open up doors.
As I contemplate the month of January, I think of the lyrics, "I set out on a great adventure". I also think of the lyrics "I wanna live with abandon" and "I'm diving in." The first and last lines are from Stephen Curtis Songs, "Long Way Home" and "Dive". The middle one is a Newsboys song, "Live With Abandon". I've written about them before, but I'll include them here. There are probably other songs that speak to me living each day intentionally, making the most, with risk, etc., but this is a good start.
This year is off to a great start for me. How about you? What are you learning? What are you experiencing? What speaks to you on the journey?
Blessings on your adventurous journey!