Friday, March 05, 2021

Dreaming of God


“When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his brothers, they hated him so much that they could not say a kind word to him.” Gn 37:4

As one of a large, talkative family, I wonder what it felt like for Joseph, to be so isolated from all his brothers, who had not a kind word for him, or perhaps any words at all.  And yet when his father asked, Joseph went the full distance and more to check on the well-being of a group of men who wouldn’t give him the time of day. 

My ear is usually caught in this reading by the mention of the 20 pieces of silver, the betrayal that prefigures Judas and Christ.  I wonder if subconsciously I’m eager to get to Easter, to fast forward to the story where I know there is a happy ending.  Yet the brothers’ betrayal didn’t start with throwing Joseph into the cistern, it began when the brothers — all of them — stopped saying hello to Joseph.  

I suspect that like the brothers, there are more than a few moments every day where I haven’t a word for God.  Praying first thing in the morning? “Are we out of milk?” calls my husband from the shower.  At midday?  There’s a desperate student knocking on my door.  Surely I can find a moment at the end of the day?  “Forgot, I have a meeting tonight, can you start dinner now?”  

I don’t set out to push God out of my daily life, it’s a gradual thing. It’s not malicious, it’s merely the clamor of my daily life. Joseph’s story reminds me that even when the urgent, and not-so-urgent, daily demands lead me to push off my time with God, God still finds his way in. Perhaps Joseph is not the only one whose dreams are God-sent. 

— Excerpted from Not By Bread Alone (2018), Michelle M. Francl-Donnay

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