Feet on ground
Last Sunday, a dear friend of mine had her day all planned out. Or so she thought. Mary, a dedicated runner, had intended to take part in an organized run from Base Gagetown to Fredericton in the morning, but decided instead to attend a church service with her husband and to run on her own later in the day. It was a much needed time out of the busy task oriented schedule Mary keeps. Most days, this woman completes more tasks before you and I have taken a sip from our second cup of coffee. Always efficiently and effectively juggling a host of events and encounters in and around the community as a major part of the work she does as a Community Development Coordinator and member of our fair city, Mary knew she needed a breather. She has learned that running both physically emotionally, and spiritually always requires a cooling down as a means of recharging and reflecting.
"Pay mind to your own life, your own health, and wholeness," writes Frederick Buechner. "A bleeding heart is of no help to anyone if it bleeds to death." Sometimes it's important to stop and get off the busy footpath in order to register the importance of living in the moment while catching your breath. To paraphrase Jann Arden's song, It's what keeps your feet on the ground, your heart in your hand. It's what allows you to continue to look forward.
At the same time that the service was beginning, another woman in the city named Noreen decided to attend to her task that morning. She takes care of a large older home that has been converted into an upscale Bed and Breakfast. It is her responsbility to ensure its cleaned and ready for guests. Knowing that new guests were arriving that evening, she set out on her own from her home just down the street to spruce up the attic room which recently been occupied.
Well, except for the sound of one person running.
Mary looked up and spotted a woman leaning out of an attic window in the old Mansion turned Inn yelling and waving at her......
"Can you help me? I've locked myself in and I cant get out!"
Christchurch Cathedral, open doors, summer 2007
PS. The title of the sermon that morning? "Why God made hinges." These two women have since spoken on the phone. Noreen is safe and sound in her own home, aware of the random harmony of how their days unfolded because God made hinges......to our hearts and to the doors in our communities. She told Mary that she's thinking about attending church next Sunday.
"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." Frederick Buechner