Monday, January 8, 2007

Triple Threat : Triple Promise

Today was truly a wonderful day in so many ways...

My husband managed to get our firstborn out the door to his commuter school in DC without waking me once. I woke up and realized that I'd gotten a good hour and a half more sleep time than I'd expected to.

I managed to get the other two up and bathed and dressed and fed and to school on time without one bit of hassling from them.

I took the dog for a decent walk, albeit in the rain, but also in solitude and had time to clear my head and pray and think about the day ahead.

I made it to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and beverages and back home in time to get ready to greet my guests for the inaugural Bible 101 class.

And then....Triple Threat.

You know, I learned long ago in seminary, that when you're on the right path, doing the right thing, following what you're pretty sure you're called to do, and doing it in the light, that some kind of darkness will try to invade that space. Now, I didn't learn this in any class per se, but it was a common experience duly noted by seminarians. If you ever wanted anecdotal evidence for a spirtual force of darkness, just ask your local clergy if anything bad happened to them in seminary. So, I should have known, but I just wasn't expecting it.

In the hour leading right up to the Bible Group's start, I got three phone calls:

Phone Call #1: My eldest saying that he was in the school clinic and could I please come pick him up because he had a headache and stomache ache and just didn't feel well at all. (Now, keep in mind that it would take more than an hour to go pick him up, check him out, and drive him home.) "Honey, I can't. I've got about ten people showing up here for the very first Bible group in one hour. There's no way." The dark clouds begins to gather as I feel an assault on my parenting while explaining to the school nurse that I'm sure it's psychosomatic because he is not looking forward to dealing with a conflict situation with a sports instructor at the end of the school day....right???

Phone Call #2: My rector (the lead priest with whom I work) calls to tell me the very sad news that a much beloved parishioner has died. The same parishioner whom I was not able to go see the day before because of some family scheduling conflict. I'm sure I just heard the rumble of thunder up in that ever darkening sky as my priesthood and pastoral abilities are now at issue. And with folks arriving, I can't start crying now. I just can't.

Phone Call #3: The Honda dealership. "Yes, ma'am, our techs were able to take a look at your van and sure enough, your transmission is dead. We also noticed that you need two new rear tires, a new engine mount because yours is broken, a new battery and you're due for your 90,000 mile check up." Gulp. I distinctly heard the crack of lightning. How much gloomier can this day get? Now, I'm being hit in the wallet and in the realm of stewardship. This sucks.

But then, people begin to arrive. I didn't break down, I didn't once cuss or say something mean and nasty to those who brought bad news. Somehow, a sense of being cared for and being on the right track despite the triple threat prevailed and we were off to a cheerful and yet careful start with our group. The women gathered here were wonderful. Each and every one of them were engaged, open, and carefully listening to and honoring the others. The time went according to plan - nothing left out, nothing crammed in. Just right. And the end of it all spent in directed meditation of a passage from Isaiah 9:2-7 was fruitful. I'm thrilled.

But what of the Triple Threat? Well, there were some benedictions that came out of those moments, too. I think because of the Peace that pervaded the time with the group, I could see the Light emerging out of the darkness.

For instance, I called the school after everyone had left and the nurse assured me that I had made the right choice. "No symptoms - no fever, no vomiting - had manifested," she said and went on to tell me about the conversation she had with my "wonderful son" (her words) about how stress and worry can make you feel that way too. I knew by how she described her conversation with my kid that he had been ministered to by someone other than The Reverend Mother, Thanks be to God!

And I remembered from my earlier conversation with my rector, that he said that when he had visited our beloved parishioner the day before, this kind gentleman thought that I had been there one day prior. In actuality it had been a week since my last visit where I took communion to him, but somehow in his mind, he had my visit closer in space and time - and so my fears of not having been present enough were somehow unfounded.

And then, the delightful surprise came in a voice mail message that had come in during the Bible Group time. The Honda guy called to let me know that he had talked to his manager and the regional rep. and they had decided that since I'd had some recall work done on the transmission and since I'd had the regular warranty service work done, that they would replace the whole transmission for free and give me a discount on the other items as well. Man! You go Honda guy!! Woo Hoo!

So, yep there was a triple threat - which only convinced me more that I'm on the right track in offering a home-based community for spiritual growth and learning. But what was really cool was the Triple Promise - you know, the part where the light overcomes the darkness and the path gets illuminated? Did I mention that when we started the group that the weather had been cloudy and raining and when we finished the sun was out and shining, drying up the rain puddles? It's true. No really, it's true.


Kerygma said...

Thanks for your post... sometimes its hard to see through all the muck to the promise. Good to see another NOVA blogger. I'm at Lord of Life Lutheran in Fairfax.

Offcenter said...

If you are an ordained woman with kids, these days are almost guaranteed. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else (well, with the exception of a few other women). How wonderful to have the perspective to see the blessing under the clouds.