On Fridays (and Saturdays when Fridays are too full), I write with the wonderful people of Five Minute Friday. We write for five minutes, with a one-word prompt and just go. No over-thinking, no intense editing, just writing to write. And I’m loving it!
Brother Lawrence and his ability to commune with God over a sink full of dishes used to irritate me to no end. I wash and clean and wipe and sweep but never do I understand how the God of the universe can be present with me. My mind wanders and my thoughts willfully stalk away from all things good to engage that thought I have no business thinking. Meeting with God has required quiet and time and silence and solitude, all good things to be sure.
I meet him in my imagination. Following the advice of those wiser and more mature than me, I seek God’s help in entering the stories of the Gospels in order to share those experiences with Jesus. From my point of view, it makes sense. The very heart of how we desired to live overseas was to enter into shared stories as we grew in our ability to participate in a different cultural world. So entering into the stories of the Gospels resonates on a very deep level, especially when spiritual direction David Benner reminds me that I do this with no motive, no agenda except being with Jesus. No divine word, no peaceful feeling, no answer to my immediate circumstances is necessary—just spending a few moments using prayerful imagination to see the story more deeply, and hopefully engage with the one living the story.
The moments are so ordinary. There are weddings and walks and meals. Markets and temples and dust. Sicknesses and brokenness and misunderstandings and learning. Stories and answers and more and more questions. Imagination takes over. I marvel at how quickly I read over a brief sentence setting the stage when I realize how long the walk actually took. What was Jesus thinking about during those miles? Did his world have donkey carts? I wonder out loud to my husband if Jewish rabbis in the first century wore frontlets. I trail behind him sweeping through markets that are as loud and colorful and bustling as those in East Africa I have experienced and we come to the Temple. We enter the Holy Other but the stillness and coolness evade us; the market has seeped right into the Temple courts. And it takes him a long time to braid a cord to drive those animals out. Time enough to think and pray and know certainly what his God would have him do.
So I enter into his ordinary moments and live them with him. No doubt, some skeptics will think, I import too much Africa and not enough historical knowledge of first century Palestine. That’s very likely. But the miracle isn’t really in having it all right—it’s in living life together. As I enter his story quietly, a few moments a day, I find him entering mine. My ordinary becomes a place he can live with the same humanity and simplicity I’ve watched him live in his. Our ordinaries intersect and leave us knowing one another better. Me, because I have much to learn. Him, because when one wills to reveal oneself, you learn, even if you already knew her inside and out.
Check out Five Minute Friday here: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/03/five-minute-friday-ordinary-2/