This afternoon at the nursing home I did a worship service up on one of the dementia floors, as I do every week. At the end of the service I went around, collecting song sheets and wishing each person peace. When I said “God bless you” to one of the women, she responded, “I bless you!” It was a sweet moment. She used to say things like that a lot, but in recent months she has grown more and more quiet. So everything she says now is a treasure.
How good if we can remember to treasure every moment with those we love, every moment we have. The weather lately has been a good reminder of that. One day we were basking in the glory of the magnolias: the next day there was a frost and they all turned brown. One day the lilacs were opening in Highland Park: the next day they were covered with snow. I drove by this morning and the street was lined with broken branches, pruned from the lilacs by very busy parks people the day before. If this Spring doesn’t teach us to enjoy the moment, I don’t know what will!
One day I had my calendar out and was explaining a complicated plan to Santiago, for a day about three weeks in the future. “If this happens, we’ll do this, but if the other thing happens, we’ll do that.” My calendar is full of appointments and things I must do. He looked at the confusing mess of dates and names in a bemused sort of way and said, very quietly, “You make a lot of plans.”
I’ve been thinking of that ever since, and have become aware of how it feels to have “a lot of plans.” This might not be true for everyone, but for me, when I look at all those entries in my calendar I feel stressed and worried. It actually feels better when things are open. Are you familiar with the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator? That’s been used a lot in ministry in recent decades, along with the Enneagram. People who are “P”s on the Meyers-Briggs are more comfortable when things are open; people who are “J”s are more comfortable when things are decided. Cultures have personalities, too, and ours is a “J” culture. As a culture, we like to have plans and to know what’s going to happen. Latin America, on the other hand, is a “P” culture, with a different attitude toward time. I think our cultures have a lot to learn from each other.
Here are some things I’ve learned this winter. You don’t have to have an agenda for a date. It’s okay to just sit and be. When you live close to the earth, your plans are easily changed by weather. Sometimes the most important thing in the world is simply whether your beloved’s cup of tea is warm enough. And you can have a whole phone conversation about nothing at all.
At St Romero’s today, we don’t know what the future holds. Our city church is tiny. Our migrant church will begin celebrating Mass together eventually, when planting time is over and people have time to do something besides eat, sleep and work. But all is well. Right this minute, in this very moment, all is absolutely well. Thanks be to God!
Love and light to all
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620