Day 61: Princeton Gratitude Continues...
Today’s task was to begin planning the arc of my 2.5 intensive teaching days next week, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday-Wednesday. What did I do?
I dropped my car off for a major maintenance, using a ‘loaner’ for errands.
I went to Crossfit.
I food-prepped, making homemade mayonnaise and a chicken-salad with dill pickles
My cousin and I reconnected over Zoom.
I read and listened to Brian’s sermon from last week, that he’ll be preaching for a new congregation this Sunday.
I put up frames in our spaces, upstairs, downstairs.
I wrapped birthday presents for Brian
I watered thirsty plants.
Nala walked me.
I picked up my car, stopping off at Lowe’s and Fresh Thyme grocery for various supplies
I wrote this blog-post with a nice glass of Chardonnay beside me…
I could go on, and apparently will for some time…!
But believe it or not, this so-called “procrastination” is the best way for me to begin to prepare for next week. As I sat down tonight, surrounded by my course books, dropping into my belly spaces to compile all the feelings and images that companioned me today, I realized the felt-sense of gift. Receiving images. Listening for interconnections. Prayerful anticipation of material best-suited for all whom I know will be arriving on Monday. Amidst the inevitable anxiety of showing up in public, I also cherish this body-sense of beginnings and anticipation, wonder and mysteries to come. I learned this from an elder at Princeton, and one from Fuller Seminary as well. They are not 'usual' seminary fare, I should say up front.
Jim Loder modelled a surrender to the Spirit more powerfully than any of his respected works. At the start of each class, he would invite us into prayer. Not formal, not rote, but tearful words of surrender and yearning. He’d often need a Kleenex at the Amen…before we were off into more traditional ‘information-transmission’ teaching required by Princeton's reputation of 'rigor.'
My preparatory days before teaching are my version of prayer… I let the associations of my students ramble around inside of me while I move, work, clean, organize—at least what I’ve been able to glean of them so far. While I move, I listen for whatever Spirit might nudge. It often surprises even me, which helps me trust it more. I lean into the flow of it all. I know I have much to bring, but I also know I primarily hold space. Spirit will weave what matters most from all we bring into the center.
Most theological institutions socialize us to speak of Godde while trusting our own ego in the practical. We speak the Word, but are atheists in practice. High achievement folks in my lineages don’t talk much about trust in the mystery of Spirit. It certainly seems impractical, even impossible, for so many, even those closest to me.
Blessedly for me, Jim Loder showed what surrender looked like, feels like. Anyone with eyes, ears, heart is welcome...