Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Being Called On

So, maybe I've reached that magical time in National Write a Blog Post Everyday because it's November (er something like that) where I get to dig a bit.

I had an inkling yesterday. That's a technical theological term for a little thought that surprised me and said "Hi. I'm not all here yet, but I'm going to be significant." I get these, and I've learned to pay attention to them. But they require some digging, some working over, and some living with.

This inkling was about the experience of being "called on." By that, I mean being encouraged to go deeper, to grow, to rise to a challenge. And in this case, I mean in spiritual matters. In other words, in real life.

More specifically, I thought of various occasions where another person has called me on in various ways. But here's the key: the inkling is about what, or perhaps closer to say how God was actually teaching me in those moments.

I'll give the clearest-cut recent example I have.

Three years ago I had a couple of kind of strange months conversing with a man in formation as a monk who I had met almost, but not quite, out of the clear blue. He is a musician; I had two of his albums produced before he went to the monastery. What did happen out of the clear blue was that he challenged me to write a song every week, record it, and send it to him. Even though he is younger than I, he kind of scooped me under his wing like a little bird and gave me a firm butt-kicking about music production. At first we conversed quite a bit, via email and chat, then only on Saturdays. But he had my attention, and, dang -- I started churning out music like I hadn't since my 20s. I was in the midst of recording my CD at the time, so music was very happening at the time. But the weirdest thing was that this happened. A little monklet causing me to turn my heart completely to music like I hadn't. And then one day (we agreed on the length of time it would be, roughly the season of fall) he basically said as of the next day he wouldn't be talking with me, but that I should send him my CD when I finished it.

It was weird. Out of the blue he was there, then he wasn't. But I saw the many differences it made to me.

I could narrate several other stories, like the manipulative ex-con 26 years my senior who taught me, as a 19-year-old, about charismatic gifts and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The seminarian who first caused me to realize what love means, and whose friends prayed me into the Church. And others.

But the inkling I began writing about is really this: It has always been God. The one calling me on, calling me deeper, challenging me to move ahead, has always been God. He has used a variety of people, but it has always been Him. Usually, my response has been to resonate so intensely, so powerfully, so dramatically, so seriously to these instruments of His that it has made my soul quake.

And that's a euphemism for saying my immature soul has kicked up a wide variety of crap in the midst of God's work.

I think humility sees both: my soul goes on a drama fest, and God is at work. Both are true. Some portion of God's work is really all about calming down all the drama. Even though it has looked an awful lot like He orchestrates it in the first place. It seems what God desires is that I am able to enter into certain situations without getting my soul all coming apart at the seams. And that makes me understand why St. Teresa of Avila says that courage is far  more important to the spiritual life than it seems at first.

So, it has all been God. God does indeed employ persons as His instruments. That still makes me shake my head. Why, Lord. So much potential for screw ups! Does heaven sometimes call us on directly? I think so, but the Lord seems not to prefer this route. At least, when I have sensed direction this way, it has generally taken years and years -- and lived experience with other people -- for me to understand heaven's intent. The Lord really has a thing about Church.

Ok, I'll file this as mulled over, and see if there is something else to come from it.

No comments: