Oh the joys of aging - and living in a small community. I had to go in for an endoscopy this morning because of something called a Schatzki Ring - a narrowing of the esophagus - that causes difficulty in swallowing. Like many men, I've avoided dealing with it for 7 years, but it is sometimes really troublesome so... (I'm still a little loopy from the meds, too!) At any rate, while I'm lying on the stretcher, a colleague and retired clergy passes by, notices me and stops for a chat. (One of the prep nurses is already the mother and grandmother of another member.) And when I get into the prep room, my surgeon and I start talking about how his son is best friends with another little guy at church.
So I'm chillin' out at home for the rest of the day while my head clears. I have a jazz gig as a part of the downtown Arts Walk tomorrow that should be fun. Earlier today I read this from Nouwen that speaks to me as we sneak up on the third Sunday in Lent:
One of the greatest challenges of the spiritual life is to receive God's forgiveness. There is something in us humans that keeps us clinging to our sins and prevents us from letting God erase our past and offer us a completely new beginning. Sometimes it even seems as though I want to prove to God that my darkness is too great to overcome. While God wants to restore me to the full dignity of being a beloved child, I keep insisting that I will settle for being a hired servant.
But do I truly want to be restored to the full responsibility of the son? Do I truly want to be so totally forgiven that a completely new way of living becomes possible? Do I trust myself and such a radical reclamation? Do I want to break away from my deep-rooted rebellion against God and surrender myself so absolutely to God's love that a new person can emerge? Receiving forgiveness requires a total willingness to let God be God and do all the healing, restoring and renewing. As long as I want to do even a part of that myself, I end up with partial solutions, such as becoming a hired servant. As a hired servant, I can still keep my distance, still revolt, reject, strike, run away or complain about my pay. As the beloved son, however I have to claim my full dignity and begin preparing myself to become the father.
Good stuff for a slow day of healing... time to fall asleep in front of the TV.