A little over two months ago, my partner had a stroke. I suddenly became her caregiver, and also became responsible for all the household chores and maintenance that we had previously shared. Something in my busy life had to give.
Ironically, this time of social distancing and working from home has made it possible for both my partner and me to keep up with a full workload and most of our volunteer commitments. A pastor in her church, Rosean has not missed a single Sunday worship service. And I, though sometimes by miracle alone, have also kept up with my commitments fairly well.
My prayer life has definitely changed, though. Where I once got up at 5 am to record my dreams and engage in Lectio Divina, I now plunge almost immediately into work — planning classes, preparing worship bulletins for my church, scheduling directees and so forth. I don’t have the leisure time I once enjoyed, either. Days are pretty full.
So I find myself taking the free moments in the midst of my activities to listen for what the Holy might be saying to me. While I am waiting for Rosean to walk down the hall on her walker, I let my senses drift out the window, embracing a soft breeze and the songs of many birds. When I am cooking dinner, I let my mind drift, listening for what meaningful current will carry my heart. Christ reaches out for me in the dancing of a leaf, the flash of a blue flower, the ringing of our neighbor’s wind chimes, the memory of a favorite hymn, or the whisper of an imagined conversation. The Holy One is always right there.
Lectio is becoming for me a dialogue in the midst of living. What it will be in future, I don’t yet know. I hope for more “me” time down the road as our new schedules become habits. For now I simply know that God is always present with me in all that I do, right here, just as the kitchen monk, Brother Lawrence, reports.
When I savor the images in today’s parables from the Gospel of Matthew I am brought to the understanding that the Kingdom of Heaven is something profoundly enticing and very fertile. One speck, one seed rooted in the heart, will grow like yeast, contaminating the entire personality. It’s the pearl we’ve always been waiting for, the treasure that we’d sell absolutely everything to obtain. We long for it. We crave it. It is valuable beyond all other concerns.
So growing spiritually is something that can be done in the daily life of a busy person. It is a matter of trusting my own deep impulses — following where my heart leads me when the ego is doing other things. It’s not something contrived, it is available in all my moments. All I have to do is take advantage of a second here and there in the midst of everything else and let the yeast of heaven transform me.