[photopress:streamsbookpicture.jpg,full,alignright]The First Stream
The Contemplative Tradition: Discovering the Prayer-Filled Life
“Put simply, the contemplative life is the steady gaze of the soul upon the God who loves us. It is an intimate sharing between friends.” (page 49).
Out of all the traditions, I stink at this one the most. I am most definitely an activist, I love to be busy, especially when the work involved is ministry. I remember a few years back when I was going to my college working towards my degree with an 18 credit hour load. I practiced the piano at least 2 hours everyday. At the same time I had night classes for Bible College 9 hours a week. At the same time I was leading a large non-churched children’s minsitry in which I needed to organize about 50 volunteers. My weekends were even blown: I had two classes on Saturday and church all day on Sunday. I actually charted out my committed time, and I discovered that I literally had two hours every week of non-committed time that I could use for personal things like take a shower. Two hours of free time a week. I never had any downtime. I was very tired. I remember I explained this “load” I was carrying to my chiropractor, and he said words that resounded in my mind for quite some time, “Well, at least you’re doing the Lord’s will.”
Was it really God’s will that I work my self to death? Was it really God’s will that I woke up at 7 and worked hard until 2 every single night? Was it really God’s will that I took on so much work (be it of a religious nature or otherwise) that I didn’t have time to just listen to Him?
This chapter on page 57 really messed with me:
Third, undermine that perennial, everlasting human itch to get ahead with intentional times of “holy leisure.” Take a nap. Spend an hour visiting with your neighbor about nothing important. Help each other watch the sun go down. Take a walk, not for excercise or to study plant life but for the sheer joy of walking. Stop praying for a day. Listen to the birds — not to get some “message” from them but to hear them. Sit in the silence, doing nothing, having nothing, needing nothing. Take a bath instead of a shower. Waste time for God. The ideas are endless.
It’s easy for me to get too excited, even about spiritual things.
I need to shut up and listen more.