I had a recoup day yesterday after what felt like a crazy but wonderful week. We had gotten stuck on a trip to Kentucky and stayed there an extra day and then spent the weekend getting ready for a wedding shower/party for great friends, all of which were good things, but I got to the end of the weekend and it felt like all the pieces were moving, and I couldn’t pin them down. Add in an on call Sunday and recoup day on Monday was much needed. After a morning nap, I took on cleaning out the fridge and the pantry, washing all the sheets and towels, and generally trying to feel re-settled. I was enjoying myself so much I began to think that maybe just being a stay at home person (not mother or even pet care tender at present) for the next bit would be great. I could order all the things. I could put everything in its place. I realized, even in saying this, that I would be bored out of my mind by day three when everything was organized, and I didn’t do enough to mess it up again. We create messes through living and doing in a space. To not make a mess means to not inhabit that space.
I think my desires for my life and vocation are frequently the same. I want to get all the pieces put in the right place and the right time and leave them there. I forgot that it is as I learn and do that I better understand my call and vocation, where my nest best place is to serve God and neighbor. The Shaker song “Simple Gifts” states “To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.” Sometimes we can only know the ‘right place’ by having been in the ‘wrong’ or ‘not as right’ place. Sometimes we rediscover this moment’s right place over and over again through the movement of the place. Sometimes we fight our next right place but end up turning and turning and always ending up back there no matter how hard we try.
This adventure called life is messy. To create anything — a home, a relationship, a vocation — takes moving around the pieces, seeing where they fit and can be used and where they don’t. While the turning often makes me dizzy or wish that I could stop and be still and settled, I am coming to believe it doesn’t work like that. Even within settled places – a job, a marriage, a relationship, a faith – there will need to be room for movement. The God of Scripture is one of a living Word – there is still movement, still rustling of the Holy Spirit between the pages and within our hearts and lives. There is movement in marriage and we take turns, sometimes with cleaning, and sometimes with choices that benefit one’s job or dreams over the other, and next time it will be the other way. Even among friends, we turn to continue to fit as we grow together, sometimes from classmates to working folks in different places, sometimes from single folks to married folks to people with children. This turning and turning sometimes turns us closer to each other and sometimes farther away, but if we can turn together, than those are the relationships that are able to last, and it is not mine to hold all the pieces still.
I don’t know about you, but I often want to be in the ‘right’ place, with things also in their corresponding ‘right’ places, but as soon as I forget I am reminded, that it is the movement of the Holy Spirit that nudges me to turn, to create mess and to tidy it up again, to move and to grow in vocation and relationship and that even when I feel like my world is unstable, I have not gone too far, I have a firm foundation upon which to turn and as Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well” or as it’s been in my head today – “Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.”