WHEN READING LIFE’S CLUES IS NOT ENOUGH

 

      I should like to remind everyone that a part of my daily spiritual disciplines is reading life’s clues as they unfold around me.  This requires my paying attention and staying focused as “life” goes on around me and you. My personal spiritual disciplines include recording what I feel, sense and discern.  I do this through journaling and by being quiet long enough to discern or to decipher what has just occurred.  I find comfort in writing in my journal especially when I am paying attention to what has caught my attention or has caused me to think twice.  Consequently, I woke up very early this morning because even in my sleeping I sensed the need to journal about whatever was making me restless.  Aha, I thought as I headed to my study to write down what was keeping me awake: acting on the clues of yesterday and beyond.
     I am aware of the clues around me that I have neglected to act upon.  I have followed most of my spiritual disciplines but some clues I have neglected to act upon so my days and nights have been restless.  I am  aware of the physical activity I am engaging in whenever I have not acted upon life’s clues.  For example, I become easily agitated when I have ignored clues or have not stopped to acknowledge them.  When I am agitated I am mostly upset about something I have not done or have not spoken about.  I enjoy spontaneity but it becomes clogged up when I have not acted upon my clues.  There is a churning inside of me that will only stop when I take action on those clues.
     Let me be more specific. I found myself agitated and even angry when I read the Congress waited until the very last minute to take action on the funding of the DHS.  After retreating to my journal I realized it was not just the law makers actions on last Friday that irritated me but it was their inaction for the last couple of years.  I realized how I had been seething because this Congress has done very little to advance the common good. Now that I have identified the ‘real’ clue it is up to me to act upon it.  Clearly, there are some action items for me to take and I am preparing myself to do just that.
     The gift of discernment is especially wonderful when I act upon what I have discerned.  I am reminded again and again of that old spiritual song “its me, its me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”  I am the one I have been waiting for and I am the one who has not acted upon the plethora of clues life has placed in my path.  Again, I retreat to my journal and I begin to write and slowly my spirit calms me down.  When I have calmed down I see the good I do not do. I realize reading the clues is not enough rather, I must act on those clues.
     To be sure reading the clues is an important and necessary step for my spiritual disciplines.  But I must practice my spiritual disciplines and in doing so I open myself up to hear what God has been saying to me all along.  I feel with a new purpose and intensity because I am no longer in captivity.  In opening up myself to hear what God has to say to me I am now prepared to hear what life has to say to me.  I am prepared to take action on what I neglected to discern in the first place.
     I confess how easy it is to be overwhelmed by life’s clues especially if we are apostles of sensitiveness.  My actions do not necessarily have be heroic or spectacular.  They need only to be real.  I will know its real when I can feel it deep in my soul.
     I  am in solidarity with the poem of the late Maya Angelou “I know why the caged bird sings”. Like the caged bird my spirit longs to be free and that freedom can only come when I am aware of life’s clues and can act upon them.  Take time to observe the many blessings occurring all around you but don’t stop there-take action.  Take time to listen to that still small voice calling you to be better than you are and then take action.  Take time to make an assessment of YOU. Take note of what you have left undone.  Take note of what you would like to get done.  Take time to listen to your own thoughts so you can listen to the thoughts of others.  Take inventory of yourself. Take a note about how you are treating those around you and how you might treat them differently and with more kindness and integrity.  Take time to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’ and you will be amazed at what it does for you.  It will open up spaces and places you have kept closed for a long time.  It will reveal a sense of purpose for you to follow.  In opening up ourselves to others it will also open us up to ourselves.  Stop navel gazing and stop whinnying and complaining and allow your self to taste the freedom which comes when we are totally sensitive and open to hear what the God of life may be saying to us.  Learn how to walk in the light of your own authenticity because it is your roadmap to wholeness.  It will enable you to act upon life’s clues in ways you never dreamed about.  And so it is. 
Dr. Paul

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