"I remembered an older friend who kept backing up into things, who posted a note on his dashboard that said, Slowly, and Majestically; i wrote s.a.m on my wrist. I pulled on some baggy pants, in case I accidentally ate a few more cookies than might be ideal. THEN, and only then, I got up, and went to the kitchen, where I put the coffee on, and did the sacrament of putter while it brewed." — Annie Lamott on FaceBookI had a list. A list of things to do. Laundry. Baking. Grading. Wrapping. Letters to write. Books to read. I had plans. Plans to cross things off my list.
Pope Francis in his remarks to the Curia yesterday, spoke about the ills that might afflict not only Curial officials, but all of us. He wondered if excessive planning was one such ill, in which we fall into the temptation to lock up and drive the Holy Spirit1, to thwart the power of the unexpected, the unimaginable. I've been thinking about overturned plans all week, after Robin's sermon for the 3rd Sunday of Advent, and the sermon by one of the Augustinians at Mass on Saturday night, about what happens when things get turned upside down.
So that well-planned list? I crossed nothing off. Instead I served at the funeral of a friend, holding the censer by his casket, watch through a veil of incense as the pastor prayed him over the threshold to eternal life. I went to the market and braved the traffic in the parking lot, thinking I should write s.a.m. on my wrist, too. Slowly and majestically, rather than slowly and angrily. Slow, as it turned out, wasn't negotiable. I went to the grocery store and waited in line (slowly and majestically), and rejoiced with the woman in front of me that our sons would be home with us today. I admired his photo on her phone, a handsome young man shaking the President's hand. I drove The Egg to an appointment. I bought boxes. I made dinner (that wasn't on the list) while The Egg deep cleaned the kitchen.
I puttered about in the sacred. Slowly and majestically. My Sagehen Egg2 noted how much he enjoyed this slow day, just being present to what there was to do (those kitchen counters), and who there was to be with.
"Despite all our attempts at domestication, God deals in surprises." Margaret Guenther
1. Most of the translations I have seen used "domesticate but the language is stronger in the Italian: Preparare tutto bene è necessario, ma senza mai cadere nella tentazione di voler rinchiudere e pilotare la libertà dello Spirito Santo...
2. Sagehens are his school mascot. The Egg is a nod to his role in "Shrek the Musical."