One of the most consistent voices in ministry for me has been from Reverend David Lose’s blog titled, “In The Meantime…” Each week he posts a reflection on the lectionary text for that week. His reflection on scripture is insightful and so helpful, but right now I can’t help but focus on the title of his blog, “In The Meantime…”
Right now I’m in a season that’s in between. I haven’t started serving at my new appointment yet (Maggie Valley UMC) but I’ve left my old one (Providence UMC). It’s a strange season for me. All of a sudden, the constant movement of ministry stopped as I am not the pastor here or there.
I have found myself feeling guilty about the free time I have right now. During this transitional time — this in between time — I’ve been able to hike, read, write, play music, play tennis, exercise, settle into our new home and more. While I am staying busy, it’s not connected to my job and that’s an adjustment.
Alongside the guilt I’m feeling for not formally working, I feel an intense sense of gratitude. I am grateful for the space to look inward. I’m grateful for the quiet. I’m grateful for the newness. I’m grateful for the possibilities that lay in front of us. I’m grateful for hope. It can feel foolish to have such hope and gratitude right now, a time when we are in turmoil as a society. But if this gratitude is teaching me anything, it’s teaching me to open up my hands and let all that is be a gift. Let the pain and hurt and loss and need teach me, O God. Let the distance and unrest, the anger and tumult open me, O God. Let the hope and possibility of change bring me to still waters — but if they can’t be still right now, let them nourish me all the same, O God.
It takes complicated and conflicting emotions like gratitude and guilt to prick me awake sometimes. This “In The Meantime,” this in between time, this space of rest and waiting is hard and full of blessings and challenges. I’ve taken up a daily question (borrowed from Richard Rohr) again, and I encourage you to try it as well. As often as I can remember I prayerfully ask, “What is the gift of this moment?” Then don’t judge or hurry through what comes up.
For me, the gift of this season of transition is guilt and gratitude. I’m not holding onto the guilt too tightly. I know this time is good, needed, necessary to fully enter into life here in Maggie Valley. Guilt is teaching me that I’m hard on myself, that I don’t rest easily. The gift of guilt is being able to hold up a mirror to see my ego, my craving to be relevant and “needed.” And then I move to gratitude. I’m grateful that no matter where I am, what I am doing (or not doing!), God’s love for me never changes, it never leaves us.
What is the gift of this moment for you? Does it feel like a crazy-busy season or are you also in a “In The Meantime” place of life? Whatever you are feeling, that’s just right. And try adding gratitude to whatever you are feeling too — Gratitude is like a super-food but better. It’s the secret power that guides us into more love and joy, more hope and peace.
I don’t have anything inspiring to share today. I really wanted to write this to express my gratitude for you, whoever you are, however we know each other. I am grateful for all that you are that helps make me all that I am. I am grateful for your presence and all that makes you wonderful. Thank you!!
Grace & Peace, Pastor Cole