It is at least seven weeks since a metal box containing files with 6 x 8 blue note cards was found in a storage room at the Temple. The blue cards were all filed neatly with rubber bands around each pile, rubber bands that if you touch, now break from age and dryness, even in this Florida humidity. Most of them are typed and they have dates and occasions, rarely titles. It has taken me till this morning to look into this file box. I’m not sure what I was afraid I would find.
They are sermons from the 1970’s. (I know some of you reading this weren’t even born.) I don’t know what is keeping me from going through them. I think it is an adequacy issues – are they good enough. It reminds me when I first began Spiritual Direction. My “director” was a Roman Catholic Dominican Sister who works at a retreat center nearby. When I started she encouraged me to write and journal. I chose to record my sense of the sacred and what being spiritual meant to me at that moment through poetry. The first time I shared a poem with her, she responded with silence. There was lots of silence in those spiritual direction sessions. But I was new and the absence of words felt strange. I jumped right in: Is it good, I asked.
Is it good? There it is. Are they good – those words typed in dark black ink on light blue cards? What has 40 plus years done to them? What have they done to the 40 years? Forty is a special number in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. It rained for forty days and nights as Noah’s ark floated back and forth across the waters. The Israelites wandered for forty years in the wilderness till they were ready to cross the Jordan. Jesus was tempted for 40 days and nights till he passed the test. And that is just for starters. Some say forty is associated with humility; some say transition/change.
I am going to read what’s in that box – there is no doubt in my mind, but not just yet. I don’t know why but it definitely is an adequacy issue. Or maybe it goes back to the symbolic number of the biblical forty. Am I humble enough to be willing to see that I have changed/grown/developed over the years and life is all about transition? Am I strong enough to recognize that maybe I didn’t? The days and the years grow you; the trials and the tests refine you; the blessings, challenges, opportunities and failures hone and polish. Am I willing to accept that some of them may just not meet my over perceived and probably falsely filled standards and some of them may just be plain dated or lousy or saturated with unrealized potential?
This has been helpful; thanks for hanging in with me. I think reading them would be a good exercise in humility. I think it will “grow” me. Stay tuned.