wednesday night tune up

We're back from our last session at the Intercommunity Novitiate program. That deserves a post in itself at some later point, but right now I'm fairly brain dead and am sitting with my feet up and tuning in again to what my ipod has to tell me.

I've been living into a situation the past few weeks that I can't really blog about as it involves other people. That said, it's one of those universal situations where you're not a direct actor in a situation, but rather are peripherally involved. Perhaps you see someone in pain or going through difficult times - you want to help but you don't really have any power. Or perhaps you see how they are contributing to the situation themselves but don't know how to say it in a way that it can be heard or helpful. Or perhaps you don't even necessarily see the "injustice" but can't help but feel compassion for those involved in the struggle. Or any number of combinations of the above. I'm sure we've all lived through similar scenarios with various entry points. So, given that, what does my ipod have to tell me?

(As a refresher, the concept is that the Holy Spirit can work through technology as well as people. Put the ipod on shuffle and see if there's a common theme).

Song # 1: Wig in a Box by Polyphonic Spree
On nights like this when the world's a bit amiss ...
I get down, I feel had, I feel on the verge of going mad ...
It certainly sets the stage.

Song # 2: Poets of Your Love by Kathy Sherman
I paused and I was held by your beauty and your grace
a gift that came quite unexpectedly
Sometimes, in the midst of the chaos, I remember to pause and just breathe and reflect - God's in charge, not me. One gift of this novitiate year has been the opportunity and support for a daily meditation practice. One of the benefits of said practice is an occasional groundedness in the midst of the chaos that quite honestly surprises me.

Song # 3: Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads
You start a conversation you can't even finish it
You're talkin' a lot, but you're not sayin' anything
But even with the occasional "mystical moment," I'm still me and as such, I stumble along. Sometimes it seems like I can't really help the situation no matter what I do. I try to talk, but I put my foot in my mouth. Or I talk a lot, but I don't say anything. This happens in prayer sometimes, not just the real world messy situations of my life.

Song # 4: The Perpetual Self or "What Would Saul Alinsky Do?" by Sufjan Stevens

Everything is lost - uh oh!
But I know that you can take it to the Lord
Everything you want - uh oh!
Is it all that you can gather for yourself?
Do you love a lot - uh oh!
It's the love that changes gifts to everyone

But everything is not lost! God's in the mix. But if God's in the mix, if God loves me and I love God, then I love other people and I'm back in my dilemma quicker than you can say Speed Reader (did anyone else grow up watching the Great Space Coaster?). I want to help, I want to fix things. But is that really my job? Or the big guy's? Or ... gasp ... the personal responsibility of those involved?

Song # 5 Murder (Or a Heart Attack) by the Old 97's

And the whole damn complicated
Situation could've been
Avoided if I'd only shut the window

Ok, so closing the window is not really a viable solution, but it is tempting.

Song #6 Big Nothing by Elliot Smith
You can do what you want to there's no one to stop you
Now you can do what you want to whenever you want to
Perhaps the answer is just to go about my own business? But when you are peripherally involved, you are involved even if not directly. Apathy is not really an attractive option for me either.

Song #7 What the World Needs Now is Love by Burt Bacharach

Self explanatory - although a surprising selection as I wasn't aware it was on my ipod. Compassion, love, care, and concern are active even if they do not involve direct action.

Song #8 The State that I'm In by Belle & Sebastian
So I gave myself to God
There was a pregnant pause before he said ok
Seems like I'm on the right track.

Song #9 The Rules by Ben Kweller
Understand that all I do
Is not enough for myself.
I am tough on myself
I need to freeze, I need direction, aw please ...
I love that ... "aw please." What an awesome prayer, a realization of powerlessness and surrender. Not only can I not fix the situation, I can't do anything without God. I am not an island, I am not omniscient, I am not omnipotent. I'm just Susan, and my task here on Earth is to be the best Susan I can be.

Song # 10 Fighting in a Sack by the Shins
had it nailed to my forehead again
To keep this boat afloat
There are things you can't afford to know
So I save my breath for the sails.
And so, I care. I am present as best I can be to the people and situation. I'll make mistakes. I'll put my foot in my mouth. But I can't fix anything. All I can do is be as much of a presence of peace as is humanly possible, trust in the goodness of God, and save my breath for the sails.

I don't know if this post will make sense to anyone who is not me, but I feel as if (with the help of my ipod) I've been able to pray my way through an unbloggable situation. And while I can't really blog about the situation, I was able to blog about the prayer and that in itself helps.

Night all. Peace to you and your loved ones.


Sarah said...

I hope that all is well again soon and that you can be at peace with how you are, and are not, able to be there for others. Peace to you and all your communities, Sarah

Anonymous said...

I love this method of "praying." I am considering taking the plunge and investing in an ipod so as to have all my tunes in one neat location, especially as I look toward novitiate and itineracny...

I really liked the lyrics you quoted from song #8:
"So I gave myself to God
There was a pregnant pause before he said ok"

I had to suppress a knowing chuckle there. ;)