God is funny.
God never works in the way you expect. But He gets it done. God is funny.
God spoke to me this week in impeccable timing. Just when I give up, something happens. Just when I least expect it, God is there.
|Beauty in the desert.|
"We are being asked to give less than we are prepared to give, and that will require more of us than we expect."
This week, spring is alive in the Rio Grande Valley. While there have been flowers here ever since I arrived, what seemed dormant now teems with life! Most of the time, cacti look dormant, uninviting, and dangerous. Their needles threaten the herbivore, and their thick skin looks dead or dormant at best. But something has begun to happen. Buds of light green flesh appeared on top of the old cacti lobes, and pretty soon flecks of yellow peeked out. Now, the flowers are in full bloom! Who knew a plant that looks so menacing could be so beautiful! Out of the dry desert and the menacing cacti, come the beauty of God’s creation.
Transition has never been my favorite thing. Even as a child, I did not like change. But, because I live the itinerant life and I have chosen to follow God’s call into the desert, I have learned to deal with constant transition. So this time, when I arrived in Texas and had a smooth first two weeks, I thought hey! I’ve got this transition thing down! This is a piece of cake! What I did not anticipate is a belated transition.
When I am in a transition I doubt everything I know to be true.
God is always with me. But is he really? I don’t feel him…
I can do all things God places before me. But I’ve never done this before. How can I possibly succeed?
I am called to be a Sister of Notre Dame. But how can I be a sister when I can’t handle even moving to a new place?
Over time, I have learned to cling to my spiritual practices as a lifeline. During this transition to Texas, even the practices that used to fill me with joy and love, left me empty and unfulfilled. My prayers just feel like motions, my reflections feel superficial, and I feel fake. How can I be a sister if I’m just faking it? But the most extraordinary thing happened this week. God is funny.
My dry desert of a spiritual life and menacing cacti of transition, bloomed. What was dead has come to life again! Big, beautiful, cheerful blossoms of yellow greeted me in the form of a woman and a conversation. Just as I was asking God, why aren’t you here? Why don’t I feel you? And where should I go? He answered me in the flesh, the flesh of a woman with seven children, who is feeling alone. God is funny.
After a long week of ministry after ministry being cancelled, we decided to bring some information to a woman we had met several weeks ago. We hesitated going alone because she does not speak English. But we had the time, and she needed the information. So I wrote down a few sentences I would need, made sure my phone was charged with google translate at the ready, and headed out to her trailer with Sr. Maxine.
I expected an awkward, halting conversation between people who do not speak or understand each other’s language. What we got was a graced moment, a visit where our hearts met. Even though we do not speak the same words, we have a common language of love. God is funny. If we had gone another time, or visited another family, or focused more on traditional teaching ministry, we would not have had this graced moment. A new relationship has been formed and a new purpose has been discovered. God is funny. As Sr. Pam says, “We are being asked to give far less than we are prepared to give, and that will require far more of us than we expect.”
Here in the valley, we are being led to receive rather than to give, to be rather than to do, and to form relationships rather than to accomplish something. But that is just it, Jesus always entered into relationship before healing, before teaching, and before giving his life. Maybe, we will only be present in the valley for the “before” phase and will never see the after. God is funny like that.