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A Dream Is A wish Your Heart Makes

Scripture: 1 Kings 2: 10-12; 3: 3-14

10 Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. 11 The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.

Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14 If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”

I have always had fairly vivid dreams. As a kid I would frequently wake in the middle of the night from bad dreams. I even had a few recurring dreams as a kid. There was one where I was being chased by a herd of wild horses. Nothing ever happened in the dream, I couldn’t even see anything other than a bunch of horses close up, as if the camera were all the way zoomed in on their heads, bobbing as they ran, but I somehow knew that those horses were after me. In other dreams, my subconscious would sometimes featured loved ones and ordinary scenarios, and sometimes it featured more fantastical scenes involving imaginary creatures or distant lands. I even, on occasion, dreamed of seeing family members who had passed away when I was young. Dreams can tell us a lot about what is on our minds, what we are worrying about, what we are hoping for.

A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartache. Whatever you wish for you keep… No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true…A drea is a wish your heart makes when you’re feeling small. Alone in the night you whisper, thinking no one can hear you at all, to wake in the morning sunlight to find fortune that is smiling on you.

This is a sampling of the lyrics to one of Disney’s most famous songs, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” As a little girl, I loved this song. I genuinely believed that if I had a vivid dream, whatever happened in the dream would come true. Now, I’m not saying that that isn’t the case for some people, sometimes we do have dreams about things that are going to happen in our lives, but never once have I awoken to find that I have been wisked away to a fairy kingdom as I dreamed about as a child. Dr Freud, a famous psychologist whom I very often disagree with, but who had some very poignant things to say about dreams.

Freud said that whether we intend it or not, we’re all poets. That’s because on most nights, we dream. And dreams are a lot like poetry, in that in both, we express our internal life in similar ways. We conjure images; we combine incongruent elements to evoke emotion in a more efficient way than wordier descriptions can; and we use unconscious and tengential associations rather than logic to tell the stories that our hearts are longing for. [1]

Essentially, Freud agreed with Disney about dreams, “a dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep.”

Dream sequences make frequent appearances in both the Old and New Testaments. Joseph, of the dream coat variety, both has fantastic dreams and was able to discern the meaning of dreams. The prophet Samuel, who is all kinds of tied up in the story of Israel’s first kings, was called into ministry by God through a dream. The Lord told Zacharias in a dream that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would bear the child that would come to be known as John the Baptist. Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father, was told in a dream not to divorce Mary, because the child was of God. And there are many more examples than these.

These dreams are all of great importance in the arc of the Biblical narrative, they each play a role in leading God’s people, whether individually or as a whole, through rough patches. They propel the story forward, often in a new and unexpected direction. Solomon’s dream is very much in this vein. Solomon was not an altogether undisputed new king. Solomon was not the first born son of David. David had several sons, and those that were Solomon’s elders fell to ruin in one way or another along the way, clearing the path for Solomon to rise as David’s heir. And as we know from much of world history, things get messy when the heirs of kings are disputed.

Like his father, and like all people, Solomon was a man who made mistakes. In our reading this morning, we’re told that Solomon walked in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrified and offered incense at the high places, an act that the Israelites were expressly forbidden to do. Perhaps this little piece of condemnation is there to remind that no matter how great we become, we are the creature and God the creator.

And yet, this morning’s passage highlights something about Solomon that we hear frequently as the key characteristic of David’s life as well. Solomon’s heart was right with God. In this dream, Solomon holds a conversation with the Lord in which the Lord essentially says to Solomon, “ask for what you want and I will give it to you.” We aren’t told if Solomon took a moment to think about what he would ask for. We aren’t told if he hesitated. What we’re told is that Solomon asked for wisdom. Solomon says to God, “O Lord my God, you have made me the king of the people you have chosen to live in relationship with you, and I can see how huge this responsibility is, so what I would like more than anything is an understanding mind to govern your people, to be able to discern between good and evil.”

Take a moment to let that sink in. Think about the kinds of dreams that we have. Think about the kinds of prayers we pray, the kinds of things we ask for. Think about how frequently we forget to ask God for the most basic piece of living in relationship with God, wisdom to see the will of God, wisdom to run after the good and away from evil.

St. Augustine, a famous theologian from the 4th century, describes “good” as existing in a state where our wills are aligned with God’s will and “evil” as what happens when our wills point to things other than God. Who here has played a game like twister or hi, ho, cherry-oh where there is the cardboard card with the spinner attached? Augustine describes good as if our hearts and our wills are the plastic spinner, and “good” is what happens when the spinner is pointed to God and “evil” is what happens when the spinner is pointing anywhere else. Solomon’s dream is a prayer that asks God for help keeping his will pointed at God, so that Solomon can, in turn, help God’s people continue to point toward God. Have you ever heard anything so beautiful?

So what do we do with today’s text? A few years ago, Pope Francis said that prayer can be broken down into the “five-finger prayer,” prayer for those closest to you, prayer for those who teach you, those who are leaders in your life in the world, those who are weak or sick, and, finally, pray for yourself. There are many other methods out there to practice prayer. Sometimes a prayer can simply be admiring the beauty around you and recognizing that it comes from God. Sometimes a prayer can be that joy you feel in your heart when you squeeze someone you love dearly. A prayer is even found in the gasping sobs we let loose when our hearts are breaking. A prayer is a conversation, a connection between your heart and God’s.

I would urge you to remember Solomon’s dream when you’re next praying. We don’t have much control over what we dream about, but we can think about what we’re asking for when we pray. When you’re praying, wether following a method or simply letting the words and thoughts tumble out of your heart, begin by asking God to guide your heart. Ask God to give you the wisdom to see what is good, to see God’s will in the situation. Ask God to help you lead others to that kind of wisdom, by being an example in their lives. When we ask for God to make our hearts right with the Lord, God will see the wishes that our hearts make and see that they are good.

So, as Steven Tyler says, “Dream on.” Amen.

[1] Ilana Simons Ph. D., “What Do Dreams Do for Us?” The Literary Mind, psychologytoday.com


Sermon from 7.25.15

Mark 6:1-6a

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”  And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief.

This text is an uncomfortable one. Maybe, like me, it makes you ask a lot of questions like, “Where is Jesus coming from? Why did he leave?” “Why were the people in the synagogue astounded as the scripture says?” “Why does their attitude seem to suddenly shift from amazement to disbelief?” “Why do they point to his family and professions as negative implications?” Why are prophets rejected in their hometowns and by the people who are close to them?” or, “Why couldn’t Jesus do miracles there?” or even more poignantly, “Why does verse 5 say he could do no power there except heal a few sick people?” There are SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. Many pastors and scholars are themselves asking these very questions. When I felt God leading me to preach on this text, I kept asking myself, “What is the point? What am I supposed to say to your people, God?”

There is an online commentary blog that I sometimes read when I am preparing for a sermon and Rev. Mark Hoffman chose to highlight verses 2-3 and focus on the question, “Why does the crowd’s perception of Jesus so suddenly shift?” He asks:

Did they wonder if Jesus was ‘crazy smart,’ and then decide that he was just crazy? Earlier in Mark 3:21, Jesus’ own family had come to get him because they thought Jesus had lost his mind. In verse 2, the people ask, “Where did this man get all this?” Did they decide, like the scribes in Mark’s first chapter, that Jesus had been sent by some evil source? Was this dynamic shift because of socio-econimic systems in place at the time? Jesus did, after all, live in a time and place where who you were at birth determined who you would be until you died. Is the shift connected to the community’s perception of who Jesus’ family was? After all, to be a carpenter was to be a low-status manual laborer. And he is named here as the son a Mary, a reminder that there were questionable circumstances surrounding Mary’s pregnancy.[1]

In the well-loved paraphrase version of the Bible, The Message, the people ask the question, “Who does this man think he is?!” Maybe some of you have faced those kind of questions when you find yourself doing well. When I got accepted to Princeton, I got a lot of those questions. Who did I think I was to go off to a fancy new place with fancy new people and try to be something more?

And in Mark, this question of who Jesus is is super important! There is this thing that biblical scholars talk a lot about called “The Messianic Secret” which is a fancy way of saying that at every turn, the people in this Gospel are question who Jesus is and where he gets his power, and whenever someone starts to get it right, starts to get that Jesus is the Messiah come to turn things upside down and right the world’s wrongs, Jesus says, “Zip it! Not yet!”

But what about the question of Jesus power here? Why couldn’t Jesus perform miracles? Well, I honestly don’t have the answer. But I do think it’s a question that we should be wrestling with. Getting into the nitty-gritty of Scripture is supposed to leave us a little haunted, leave us unable to sleep at night because we’re torn up with not knowing the answers. Belief isn’t easy. It’s hard and it’s messy. But what do I keep telling you about the mess? Jesus reaches down into the dirty, messy, grimy parts of our lives, takes our hands, and helps us to stand again. Right?

So what is the text doing here that is going to enable Jesus to help us stand? Maybe for some of you today, God is just trying to whet your appetite, to make you so hungry for answers that you dig into your Bibles with fervor. Maybe God is asking us to look for the point of it all. Maybe some of you are like 13 year old me, searching for the reason that God keeps waking you up day after day.

Personally, I think God is asking me to wrestle with this question of what a “deed of power” is. What does the text mean by that? Is a deed of power a miracle as so many people think it is? If so, what are the miracles Jesus cannot do? Because the scriptures say that Jesus is able to heal some people. Were those people who were exceptions to the rule? Were there a few within the community who did accept Jesus?

Maybe it’s our understanding of which things that Jesus is doing that qualify as miracles that have to rethink in this story. Maybe the miracle isn’t Jesus’ healing power, although that is certainly a miracle. Maybe what we understand as Jesus’ healing power is what we have to rethink. Maybe it isn’t making the blind man see again that is the real miracle. Maybe it isn’t curing people of leaprosy and possession. Maybe, what the real healing power of Jesus is, is his ability to lift us out of our circumstances, to lift us out of what our communities and our societies and cultures expect of us. Maybe Jesus’s real miracle is his ability to raise us above all of that, and to give us new hope and new visions for the future. Maybe’s Jesus’s real healing power is the way that he brings us out of brokenness and back into relationships with one another and with God.

Jesus says that all of the law of the Old Testament can be boiled down to two things: 1) Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. And 2) Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Jesus also says that he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

Maybe the real miracle that Jesus brings into each of our lives when he performs deeds of power is the way he enables us to rejoin our communities, to reform healthy and vibrant and loving relationships with God and with each other. When Christ healed the demoniac, Christ sent the newly healed man back home, back to the people who rejected him, who tried to tie him down with chains and with shakles, and who banished him to live among the tombs. Christ sent sent the healed man back home and empowered him to love his neighbor as himself as an extension of the loving relationship that Christ built with him.

Maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s the real deed of power that the people of Jesus’ hometown missed out on. Whether it is because of fear or perception or the way that Jesus sometimes makes us uncomfortable, when we reject Jesus, we miss out on healthy and vibrant and truly loving relationships with God and with each other. Because Jesus is the only person who has ever died for me. Jesus is the only person in all of history that was able to take on the sin of all of history and wash it away.

Friends, the Good News of the Gospel is this: Jesus loves you so much, that he doesn’t care who you think you are, or who your community thinks you are, because Jesus knows that you are a child of God and you were worth getting messy for. You are worthy of healthy and vibrant and loving relationships with God and with each other. So don’t be afraid. Listen for when Jesus knocks at the door to your heart. Be ready for Jesus to pull you up and help you stand, because he can and will and he already is. Amen.

[1] Paraphrase of Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman’s article, “Commentary on Mark 6:1-13,” from Workingpreacher.org. Found on July 24, 2015.


Gifts in the Moment

Today I spent a few hours working with an organization called Gifts in the Moment. Gifts in the Moment is focused on bringing healthy, accessible produce to the Peoria, IL. They work to provide “Healthy Access Initiatives” which seek to further the mission of improving access to fresh produce and enabling the community to better understand how and why to partake.

A few weeks ago, I met with two amazing women from the organization who told me about where and why this project got started. I, in turn, told them my own connection to food justice related projects and the way that God has shown me over the last 8-9 months that food justice is not only important to me, but will play a role in my future ministry. I told them that not only did I want to learn about what they were doing in Peoria and the way they make it all happen, but to also build connections between their organization and the church I am interning at this summer. Plus, I was really looking to get some time in the gardens during my tenure in the community.

They were more than willing to put me to work, and to work with me and the church as much as they were able. They said they got together to wash veggies every Tuesday that will then go out in their Mobile Food Van for the CSA and that I would be welcome to come help out anytime. Today I was finally able to take them up on that offer.

It. Was. Glorious.

I spent three hours washing onions and green beans and potatoes. I didn’t talk much to the other volunteers, because, believe it or not, I am actually fairly shy around new people, but I spent that time praying over those vegetables. Now, maybe that sounds a little funny, praying over vegetables. It felt a little odd at first, I’ll admit, but I felt God asking me to pray, so I did. The prayers I uttered went something like this:

Lord, bless this potato/onion/bean. Bless the belly that it lands in. Bless the life that it will nurture and sustain. Lord, in your mysterious ways, use this potato/onion/bean to further your kingdom. Use it to draw your children into relationships with you and with each other, Lord. Amen.

I could feel God calling me to pray for his children, for the ways that this food would shape their lives and their communities, for this organization’s continued ability to help change the way that the people in Peoria interact with food. I hope that my prayers make an impact, but even if they do not change the world, it felt good to hold the people of Peoria and the food that will help nourish their bodies in prayer, because, in doing so, I held them in my heart.

I encourage you to get involved in a community garden or a food justice initiative in your city. I also encourage you to pray over the food that will impact that people in your area. Not only can it have real effects in the lives of others, but I guarantee that it will impact the way you interact with your neighborhood and community. When you pray for something, you are truly loving it. So go, love your neighbors.

-Kay


Youth Mission Trips

I spent the last week with a group of 36 youth and 12 adult volunteers doing mission work in a little town called Pacific, MO. It was a real blessing to be able to join the group on their trip and to have the opportunity to develop some relationships with the youth and with the adult leaders. Two of my co-workers from the church were on the trip and I think we talked more on the trip than we have in several weeks of working together. I think it was helpful on both sides of the equation to begin to see the other person as just that, a person.

The trip was a huge blessing in several ways. First, it allowed me experience a youth mission trip as an adult leader. Being only 24 and having not been regularly and consistently connected to a church that had a vibrant youth group during my college years, this really was my first opportunity to take on that kind of leadership role for a trip such as this. I think I learned a lot!

Even more than that, though, I was reminded of my first mission trip and the ways that that experience was formative for my spiritual and adolescent development. My first mission trip took place in the summer of 2004, the summer before my 8th grade year, in Bull Hollow, OK. We spent a week doing home repairs in that are through a United Methodist Church affiliated with the Cherokee Nation and working with the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, OK. It was an amazing experience, and it is probably the experience that got me hooked on going to youth group. My best friends were all on the trip, the Bestie, the FellowNerd, FellowNerd’s big brother, the Third Musketeer, and the Cool Guy. There might have been others on the trip. In fact, I am almost certain that there were, but I can’t remember who else was there.

And the Fiercest Female Pastor I’ve ever met led the charge. She was amazing! I think that having the opportunity on that trip to bond with her had a lot to do with my ability to hear and respond to The Call to ministry as it un-folded over the next year. That would have been the summer right after the Big Sis moved out, and I think the Fierce Female Pastor knew I needed extra care during that time.

I remember so many seemingly unimportant details about that trip. I remember the Fierce Female Pastor teaching us how to french braid hair (which I am still terrible at), and how to do it so that the bride looked like it was inside out. I remember listening to a LOT of Avril Lavigne and my first introductions to Blink 182 and Weird Al. I remember eating something called Walking Tacos, which were delicious! I remember playing Cranium for the first time and how FellowNerd’s big brother was on my team and how he still guessed correctly when I confused the songs “Lean on Me” and “Stand by Me.” So many of these details seem so unimportant, but when I think of them, they make my heart sing. It’s indescribable the love and fondness connecting me to these people and moments even across so much time.

I hope that last week will resonate in the hearts of at least a few of the youth that went with us. I hope that it continues to resonate with me, continues to shape and mold my heart, the way that the trip to Bull Hollow began shaping my heart 11 years ago. I pray that the experiences that those youth had deeply impacted them and opened their hearts to the possibility of what God has in store for them.

I think it will be a long time before I stop praying for them.

-Kay


Dearly Beloved

I know that I only just said that this blog would henceforth be dedicated to sermons and liturgically related works, but tonight I find myself in the need to write.

Two months ago, almost exactly, I contacted my soon-to-be Field Ed supervisor to check in on the status of my housing arrangements for my summer in Peoria (where I am interning as part of my seminary education). You see, a critical part of my contract with the church in Peoria is that the church provide rent free or low rent housing for the summer, so that I don’t end up spending more in housing costs than the small stipend I will be receiving at the end of the summer. Much to the delight of me and my supervisor, the best possible candidate stepped forward. An elderly couple, Glenn and Dee, a retired reverend and his wife, offered their guest room and bathroom, as well as access to the rest of their home, for my use this summer.

This was as beneficial for them as it was for me, because they would be leaving for Uruguay just days before I was to arrive in Peoria, so I could act as live-in house sitter–watering plants, collecting mail, etc–while they were away. Glenn and Dee would spend six or so weeks serving as interim pastors to a church in Uruguay that Glenn had been the pastor of years ago. Glenn and Dee have had many such adventures in their lifetime. They have served in appointments all over the world! Unfortunately, I was only able to spend a few hours with Glenn and Dee on my drive home at the end of the spring semester, so I have only heard a few of their many tales so far.

But now tragedy has struck.

Two days ago, I received word that Glenn had had to have emergency surgery. It seems that when Glenn had his appendix removed as a young man the scar tissue left on his small intestine cause the intestine to burst a few years later. They repaired it then and Glenn hadn’t thought much of it for decades, but sometime over the course of the past week, that old wound reopened. Being a much older man, and being in less than optimal circumstances in Uruguay, Glenn’s prognosis was grim.

Still, his spirits held. The church rallied together to hold a prayer vigil and the staff has tried to stay as up-to-date as international phone calls and emails could allow.

But it was not enough. It was, as it turns out, Glenn’s time to go home to the Lord.

I received word about an hour and a half ago that Glenn had passed.

And I sit here with so many emotions reeling around in my head. I don’t know what to do or what to say. I don’t know if I am more upset than I should be or not upset enough. I both feel as though I didn’t know him at all and, because I have been living in their home for five weeks, as though I am intimately connected to him and this family. I wonder whether it is more appropriate for me to stay to comfort and care for Dee when she returns, or to give her privacy to mourn and find somewhere else to stay for my remaining weeks in Peoria. I wonder whether it is inappropriate for me to leave on Sunday for the youth mission trip (probably not entirely, but I also don’t have much of a choice this late in the game). I feel majorly uncomfortable with the fact that I am sitting in their home mourning for this loss and they are not here.

There is so much about this situation that is unique and bizarre. There is so much than in unexpected and even now unpredictable.

These are not circumstances that a seminary education can prepare you for.

I’m not sure that anything could have prepared me for these circumstances.

And yet, ultimately, this is not about me. This is about a woman who has lost her husband, about children who have lost their father and grandfather, about congregations around the world who have lost a dear friend and brother. The world has lost a dear, dear saint of God today. And, I think, that ultimately I sit here with tears rolling down my face likes rivers, because I have lost the opportunity to hear about an amazing life of extraordinary ministry from one of the most wonderful men I will have the chance to encounter in this life.

Glenn, as I join with you family and friends to face the coming days, I am brought hope in this thought: You have touched my life in remarkable ways in such a short time and with limited access to one another and I can only imagine the depth of impact that you have had on the people you have know. When my time comes, I hope to have even a fraction of that impact on the world.

My dear friend, may God bless you and keep you. May God make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you. May God give you final and everlasting peace.

Amen.

-Kay


Hello, Lovies!

Friends,

It has been a good long time since I last posted, and for good reason. I have needed to do a little work on me, a little growing up. I cannot say that I have been entirely successful in that endeavor, but who, that is still living, is entirely the best version of themselves that they could be? No one, that’s who. The moment we find ourselves stagnant we will realize that we are no living.

So, having said that, I’d like to announce that from now on I fully intend to use this space to publish sermons and devotionals and other such materials as I create them. These materials will develop, for the moment, either out of my seminary education or out of my on the ground experience in churches and other ministry settings.

I hope you enjoy what you read and learn a little something on the way.

Blessings,

Kay


I Need A Little Ritual In My Life

Ritual- An established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite; any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner.

Something I have realized about myself recently is that I really truly need ritual in my life and for a variety of reasons. Namely, ritual gives me a manner to communicate with God and the people around me when I don’t necessarily have the ability to form the words or thoughts that express what I need to say. Also, I have realized that ritual without words gives me a way to have an open and free dialogue with God. When my body is physically busy completing the ritual, it opens both my ears and my heart to allow things both in and out.

I’ve also realized how this has manifest itself throughout my life. In early middle school and high school it presented itself in my involvement with The International Order of Rainbow for Girls and The International Order of Job’s Daughters. In fact, my first office in Rainbow was the Ritual station of the Bow. It’s like the Universe was already at that early stage shouting at me what my path in life would be. I soon took office as Faith in Rainbow and, eventually, Chaplain in Job’s. Later in high school I felt the strong urge and desire to hold offices in any and every organization, club, troop, etc. that I was involved with. At one point in my senior year, I was the Youth Service Fund Chair, a Leader In Training for Girl Scouts, and the President of my youth group AND my show choir. I found that all of the driving I did back and forth between my hometowns(I spent my childhood and my teenage years in different towns roughly 30min apart) provided an amazing opportunity to do profound personal work. I made the drive back and forth roughly 6 days a week and in those times I would sing my little lungs out, I would think through the things that were on my heart, I would talk/cry/shout with God, etc.

In college I didn’t have access to my car all that often, but I had access to the Theta Omicron chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota and I trained with them in the Spring of my freshman year. I spent nearly all of my time as a member of ΣΑΙ as the Vice President Ritual, and my junior year I was elected as the President of the chapter for the following year. It was the perfect combination of leadership and ritual to give me that fix that I needed so desperately. When my then boyfriend and I split, I dove even further into the life of that organization and buried myself there. Meetings gave me the opportunity to shut the world out and only deal with the matter at hand, and the other aspects of the organization(namely ritual and song rehearsals) gave me the opportunity to have those conversations with my inner self and with God.

Now, though… I don’t really have any of those things. For the first time in my life I am not terribly active in any organizations or clubs. I haven’t promised away any particular evening for a weekly activity. None of it. This has been both good and bad for me. It has definitely meant that when I need to be productive I have a more difficult time entering into that head space(I have also realized that spending my free time on Netflix versus in a book effects this). It also means that I have had to find more creative and intentional ways to get in touch with God. I don’t have a regular reason to drive anywhere, although soon I will, but still it will only be one day a week. I don’t have a set ritual for an organization with which to physically busy my body with rehearsal. So I’ve tried a few things out. Going to the gym helps a lot! I feel better physically and mentally afterward. Unfortunately, I don’t really have the time right now for that, because I’m always so tired afterward. However, the one really good habit that I have started and that is helping me a lot is that on Saturday mornings I clean my dorm room. This is good for my mental state throughout the week, because I have to have that clean space to work in so that I don’t feel disoriented. It also, again, gives me that alone time with just myself and God. With Reading Week and Finals fast approaching, the cleaning rituals have picked up to 2-3 times a week. Another really great thing is that now that I’m not afraid I’ll lose a limb to frostbite, I have been able to get back in the habit of walking back and forth to work and then once I’m at work, I get to spend a few hours thinking through my life!  It’s pretty wonderful. 🙂

Still, I do miss those ritual-based organizations at times. Not as often or for the reasons that I thought I would, though.

Anyway, something to think about in your own lives. 🙂

-Kay