Monday, May 13, 2013

Fragmentation, Re-integration, and (not) Romero's Prayer


New job starting tomorrow.  Wrapping up the old job today.  "Five Broken Cameras" about Bil'in in the West Bank (well worth seeing, if you haven't).  "Fire under the Snow" about Tibet (also very powerful). Thank God that Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide in Guatemala.  Then there are the personal wounds - the accidental, the forgotten until just recently, the new ones.

The breaking apart of our world and ourselves. The coming back together, over and over, looking a little different each time.


Always the image of the mosaic fills my mind.  Perhaps that is why I love them so.  They look like me.  Or I like them?  Maybe that is why Gaudi appeals to me so- the whimsy, the serious, but most of all
the pieces that sometimes used to be one unified picture broke apart and put back together, other pieces that were never together until brought together in beautiful new forms.  I am made of pieces of you.  You now carry pieces of me in your being.  We are mosaics, ever more beautiful for the way we break apart and come back together.  Were we ever just one form?  How soon did it take us to start this ongoing process of fragmentation and integration?

I started writing this with a prayer in mind.  One attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, though he never spoke the words.  This prayer reminds me that the de-fragmentation of the world and myself is not all up to me.  I don't have to be overwhelmed.

I was having coffee with a friend a few days ago and asked if she was going to an event later in the day.  "I should, but I have another meeting at that time."  She looked disappointed in herself that she could not be in all places to do everything that needed to be done. 

I took her hands. "You aren't meant to do it all."

In my mind I was thinking about how she does more in a day than many of us do in a week.

Then my own inner dialogue began.  Am I doing enough?  Am I doing what I need to be doing?  Am I walking my path faithfully?  Am I helping others to walk their path faithfully?  I am a teacher.  My job is to accompany others on their path, right?  And the next thought: we are all needed here.  shouldn't every job be  a way of walking the path faithfully and helping others to do the same?  If we help each other, the pieces may still break apart and come back together, but maybe our pieces come together and break apart without leaving holes.  It seems there are still many holes in the world.

These are the thoughts racing through my mind as I finish my last day in a classroom until... and consider the work I'll begin in an office tomorrow.

"Office" - the word sound dry, but I think the work in this particular office will be anything but dry.  I say this because I already know many of the people I'll be working with.  They are flowing with a spirit that draws me in.  A river, a stream, ever-in-motion.  I think working with them will help expand me.  I hope so.  I hope my little bit of work will support others in being faithful to their call.  Is is possible to do that in a few short months?  I'll only be there through the end of July and then... Palestine.

A friend of mine affirmed the way I am walking my path by offering to help me attend a celebration for another friend.  An undeserved gift, I think.  I say this because I think I am less generous than I appear to be. It is only with the examples my friends and family give me that I am able to step out of my self-centeredness.  And sometimes I fail.  And sometimes I fall. And sometimes I crack or break into pieces in the process.

I know now eventually the holes will get filled.  I know I can get up.  I am thankful.  I need the reminder, though, that even in my stumbles, through my cracks (maybe even because of them), with my holes, I can do something to aid in the de-fragmentation, the re-integration of the pieces of the world.  And so I end with this prayer that is not Romero's but is attributed to him. 

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

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