Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Enter Under My Roof

When I create centeredness on the Spirit in my life, I find I’ve made room for seeing purpose in everything from conflict and petty arguments, to old habits and disagreements, strife and suffering and pain. I know I have done it before and can do it again, and in retrospect see how all the goodness came about in spite of chaotic human existence.

When you’re in the midst of any conflict, it’s often hard to see and understand; our wills battle against what’s alien, especially when we’re somewhere--literally and figuratively--we’ve never been before. This place, this state of mind or being prepares us for more, nerves us, shores us up, bonds us with steel in the face of the worst life can and does bring.

All this thinking came about after a trip North and re-acclimating myself to my now home-base, sitting on the front porch and observing. We recently got a new roof, and my husband and the contractor yabbered one day about some young engineers on their crews going to Georgia Tech (gasp, Bulldawg Nation, gasp if you must--but I live in a house divided). They’d razzed the kids as construction workers do, for having soft hands and being too brainy about some things which needed plain old experience. There’s value in both intellect and experience, of course, but what I'm getting at here is that understanding the art and science of engineering a roof is different from physically dealing with it--the contractor spoke of his young guys gaining perspective from the problems an awkward angle on an old roof might cause, or what it meant to have to work around inclement weather, to work judiciously and measure your pace given the situations that might be out of anyone’s control at any time.

Is this really so unlike what we engineer ( check out the roots: contrive, devise) in our lives daily?

It made me think of the moment at Mass when I respond in prayer with words from a Roman centurion who asked Jesus for help, and evokes a desire for mercy, a humility: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Regardless of what you believe, the very concept of becoming worthy, this valuing of humility, is a plea in this moment from this man for the mystery of grace, for simple relationship, for being able to clear out one’s own dust and cobwebs and mess so that there’s room for the other, for love, for the real. We create, each day, a sound roof and a clean space in which to harbor those we love, those we greet, and our own selves, evolving with each experience. How much of it we contrive and how much experience is the hallmark, oddly, of a vast sea of disagreement and concord and equal parts love and grace we do not ourselves only control.

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