Love does not stay idle

Love does not stay idle.” -St. Catherine of Siena (from Letter T82)

This is my 100th post on this blog, and to celebrate I thought I’d write a brief manifesto of sorts–a window into who I am and why I do what I do.

As I wrote earlier in my story about staying in the Abbey of St. Hildegard of Bingen, I am aligned to be out in the world, in relationship and direct service with people.

Translating that into religious language, my calling is to Love God and Love Neighbor.

Out of God’s great love, grace, and redemption, I find a love that cannot be kept inside. I am compelled to love my neighbor. I am compelled to love and serve people throughout this country and world.

This means I will seek work that is fulfilling and servant-oriented. So far, for me this has been manifest in pastoral care, spiritual direction, direct service with the poor and homeless, dismantling racism, intentional community, and global service.

The work need not be overtly religious, because I know that loving one’s neighbor transcends religion and theology. One need not be religious to know the longing to love and be loved. One need not be religious to serve and have relationship to our neighbors.

What I write here comes from moments of grace I believe are worth sharing, the stories of life and relationship.

Grace is in the brief time I spent with Suon in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Grace is in the relationship to my Indonesian brother. Grace is in participating in weddings and funerals, hearing people’s hope for their country, and meeting a fellow pilgrim. And so much more.

This means that in my work and in my travel, I am motivated out of grace and love, and a desire to enjoy this amazing earth. It is my privilege to be able to share some those experiences on this blog.

Love does not stay idle.

Visiting the hospital in Balige, North Sumatra, Indonesia with the students.
Visiting the hospital in Balige, North Sumatra, Indonesia with the students. April 2012.
Sunday devotion with elderly group, village of Marihat Tiga, North Sumatra, Indonesia. May 2012.
Sunday devotion with elderly group, village of Marihat Tiga, North Sumatra, Indonesia. May 2012.
Meeting Krishna (far right) and his companions. Kumily, Kerala, India. January 2009.
Meeting Krishna (far right) and his companions. Kumily, Kerala, India. January 2009.

Lent and Blessing the Waiting

sagebrushSince my return from the orientation in Toronto in January, I have been staying with my parents in southeastern Washington state. Recently on a trail, I ran among the dry sagebrush steppe and contemplated the desert and my lenten journey.

How do I form and hold onto a spiritual practice for lent as I continue to wait in this liminal space? I haven’t answered that yet.

All of my belongings not going with me are packed away, leaving me to that which I can carry. I don’t have to take time out of my busy day to think about lent—I have time, lots of time. Well, the newness of waiting has worn off, and as the weeks pass by, it has become increasingly difficult to retain my earlier reflection on the deliciousness of ambiguity. So, it seems, as the liturgical season turns, so has a season in my spirituality. But this desert isn’t desolate.

Over the weekend, I returned to Seattle and said goodbye to my parents. And yesterday evening my church community, Church of the Apostles, blessed my waiting. In our nearly 10 years of existence (I’ve been around for 7 of that), we have laid hands upon many to bless their various journeys near and far. As it is not yet time for me to leave the country, I asked for prayer in my waiting. Standing in this liminal space, and surrounded by my community, hands were laid upon me to bless my waiting.

Today I wonder: what will this week of waiting and wandering bring?