Saturday, December 28, 2013

Epilogue to the Spirituality of Advent: Complementarity

I have been working on putting together the set of 26 blog entries that I wrote regarding the Spirituality of Advent into a connected sequence.  Ther ordering is obvious--the one that set the framework, the 24 written on days of Advent, and the one written on Christmas Day.  What is interesting is the search for themes.  

When I began, I sort of thought it would be a piece of cake to write about themes of hope, preparation, joy, and love for 24 days.  What could be easier?  There are many things each day that make me think about these themes.

What I could not have predicted when I began was playing bass at a funeral, finding a little time to pick up the mandolin again, finding Emmet Otter on a site where I could play the entire special from start to finish online for free, multiple interesting exchanges with a fellow runner/blogger, an especially good race, and a 10 day period during which I would see almost a performance a day on the evenings I was in Baltimore.  

What I could not have predicted is that despite being incredibly happy with where I am in life, satisfied that I am pretty well off, and still recognizing that I could improve myself and how I interact with others, and despite being really high on Maslow's triangle, I am still truly searching.  Not searching for something bigger--I am comfortable with the notion that there is something bigger out there.  But searching for the meaning of whatever it is that is bigger and searching for ways to allow it to guide me to a better life.

So, since I have reflected on the Prayer of St. Francis and I have put it in writing that I want  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 read at my funeral some day and I have written about contrasts before, I will close this set of writings about the Spirituality of Advent with a set of reflections that I will refer to as complementarities rather than contrasts.  I think that what I will offer is a set of things that go together--each having it's time--rather than things that have to be one or the other.  And since I have also written recently about the Beatitudes, I will make eight complementary "there is a time for" statements.

Everything in my search for self-actualization and deeper meaning has its time:
There is a time for seeking that something bigger in the universe,
   and a time for appreciating every little detail of life that goes 
   right on a daily basis;
There is a time for being the biggest help I can be to those around
   and a time for realizing that ultimately I play only a small role
   in helping a person or changing a person's life;
There is a time for feeling that things like crossing finish lines
   are big accomplishments,
   and a time for realizing that each moment in life--and even each
   marathon--is but a speck of dust relative to the whole of life;
There is a time for seeking to express myself and all that is unique
   about me,
   and a time for conformity and doing things just because that is
   best and I should trust those around me who have done things
   before and not ask questions.
There is a time for drawing attention;
   and a time for realizing that I am but a speck in humanity and
   that humanity is but a speck in the universe and my role is to be
   the best I can be but that I will not change the world in a
There is a time for running,
   and a time to realize that running is only one part of my life and
   that many other parts deserve and require attention to keep the
   whole of my life functioning well;
There is a time for seeking to make new connections with
   interesting people,
   and a time to carefully nurture the many connections with
   incredible people I have already; 
There is a time for pondering the meaning of life,
   and a time for acting on the meaning I have found.

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