God is the center of my life.
Really, I mean it. God is my life. God consumes my life. Most of my time, thoughts, and tasks have to do with God.
I wish I could tell you it’s completely great.
Many mornings, as I hit the snooze button on my alarm, I think ‘God! Already!?” Then I fall back asleep imagining (No, actually knowing) that God is really right in my room with me, like a good, loving protector. When I finally do rally, brew and gulp coffee, I talk to God some more.
Then there’s my job, my ministry. I am a high school religion teacher and I am a Franciscan Sister, for goodness sake. Everything I say or do gives witness to my life with God. It’s constant faith sharing. I pray with my students, try to listen to them and do my best to love and teach with joy. I read a lot about God and learn as much as possible so I know what I am talking about (at least somewhat)! I prepare presentations, lessons, assignments and activities in order to inform and inspire others in their own journey with God. I grade piles and piles of endless papers and read essays by my students centered on–yup, you guessed it–God, again. It’s a lot of work and I never can keep up. Work all centered on God.
My non-teaching time (there seems to be so little of it nowadays) is spent on activities that are centered on God too. I think a lot about God. I talk to God. I make lists of all the God-related topics that I want to blog about for all of you here (and wonder when I’ll ever do it). When I do write it’s God-related, of course. My other tasks like reading, up-keeping my relationships, eating and praying with my sisters, playing and even the too-rarely exercising also have to do with God in one way or another. Sometimes I get to be crafty, or cook or enjoy nature–or maybe I’ll do chores like my laundry. That’s God stuff too.
I am not complaining. I like it this way. I am grateful that I get to focus so much energy and time on God. God is the love of my life, seriously.
I am not bragging either–I’m just saying. Even though I am so all about God I feel so unsatisfied. My relationship with God is just as hard as anybody else’s. Desire is a funny thing. We can be so unfulfilled, even if we focus a lot on what we desire most. St. Augustine was onto something when he said “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, Oh God.” Maybe the problem is the rest part.
I am beginning to wonder if my struggle this Lent (or is it during this phase of my life in general?) is about learning how to let my relationship with God evolve. There was a phase in my life when I was totally head-over-heels in love with God. Wow, that was great! It was basically euphoric: I was consumed with joy because I kept experiencing God’s awesomeness. According to my friends, they knew I was well when I joyfully proclaimed “God is so good!” a lot. I still say that, but I wonder it’s just becoming more monotone.
Maybe my relationship with God is just getting more grown-up. I wonder if God just wants we me to accept maturity. Will I remain faithful and zesty even if I am not always feeling it? What is my love for God centered on? How can I connect and keep going even when things start to seem strangely bland?
Maybe God and I really are getting to be like a long-married couple in different parts of the house together, quietly doing our thing and just having joy in the presence of each other. Awww.
But, what’s a sister to do when life is more than physical labor and she’s still wanting to just be with God in it all? What if the constant mind stretching, ever-chaotic work is an exhausting and demanding ministry of teaching? How can I connect to God in that mess?
I am reading a book that’s helping me feel a bit better about my dissatisfaction and inadequacies. This is one of its lessons:
“God’s incarnation in Jesus might suggest something startling about the importance of housework: like housework, redemption is physical. God doesn’t stand around watching humanity go to hell in a handbasket; he gets his own hands dirty by sending his Son to heave us in from the muck. In Jesus, God is cleaning up the mess.”
I am starting to think that this same lesson applies to the mess and all the mundane tasks in my classroom. All work is probably a type of cleaning up.
God is all about creating order out of chaos. It’s hard, tedious, on-going, repetitive work. Grading papers shall be endless, like housework. The preparing, reading, and tidying will always build up on my desk. And in that messy, daily labor I too can unite with God.
It’s a good thing that God is the center of my life, I might pay better attention.