Very early this morning, before the first light rose, a first question arose in my mind: What is my job today?
An interesting question to come to me while on vacation. Just a moment later I registered that it is vacation time and then this answer to the original question came clear and immediate:
My job today is to be the person home at #4.
That’s it and that’s all.
I went to sleep last night and entered early into a set of dreams. My falling asleep and the dreams themselves were characterized by the kind of jumping-around erratic non-rhythm of thought that a long time ago led wiser persons than I to think of the human mind as a monkey constantly jumping from tree to tree. In my experience, it is an apt and a helpful image.
On the one hand the jumping around bears witness that we live. There’s a positive. On the other hand, it also reveals that we tend to be hyper, to be unable or unlikely to settle in one place, to remain there, to look around calmly and come to know the place, and there, contentedly, to be. To simply be.
In that morning light, my first thoughts of this day are a grace and gift to me. This is indeed my job today, inasmuch as I have one. My job is to be right here. To be, right here. My job is to remain in this place, in this time.
In doing so, I believe that I would come to be able to affirm that in all time and in every place, all that is needed has been provided. The God who created, and who continues to create is here, and is at work.
What is being created? Activity and joy and memories for the children across the lake at camp. Plant life, flourishing just beyond these walls in the midst of a recent overabundance of rain and today the gift of warm sun. Animal and insect life on the move. Birds singing their morning prayer in original tunes, and always on key.
And in the human being, what is being created? In this human being, sitting in this chair typing? What is being created in me? Is it healing from the ravages of covid-time isolation? Is it a renewed resilience? Is it the continued pathway along the necessary road of grief and mourning? Is it recovery from weariness by the balm of rest? Is it a word from the home of hope? Is it new possibility, awaiting birth? Is it a new idea, or a new feeling? Or is it simply and marvelously a next breath?
Likely the answer is all this, and more. If the human mind jumps from tree to tree like a monkey, sometimes creatively and more often madly, the heart of God moves from hill to hill creating new trees, new species, new wonders that might never occur to a monkey mind, but which invite recognition as gifts and the birth of contentment and joy.
What does it take for me to do the ‘job’ identified as today’s? Simply to stop trying. To cease striving. Simply, but anything but easily. Witness the fact that I am writing about it, rather than doing it.
Long before I was ever doing, I was being taught in my mother’s womb how to be. The teacher of that lesson was both radically distant and astoundingly near. That teacher still whispers, now as then. That teacher still has lessons to impart. They are spoken first to the heart, to the wholeness of me, and not only to my mind.
Today, at least in desire, I want only to be.
Copyright 2021 John P. McGinty