"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I Want to Dance With You—Right Now!

By Micky Wolf
It has been a tradition for a number of years for the pastor of our church to say thank you to staff and volunteers by hosting an annual Saturday evening get together that includes food and plenty of time for relaxing and fellowship.  The large hall is filled with tables of eight, folks who’ve given generously of their time, talent, and gifts.

We’d finished our meal, enjoying conversation with our table companions, greeting and meeting others. The deejay played several fast tunes, then decided it was time for something slower.

The first note was all it took—it was “our song”, one that is a meaningful part of our earliest memories of dating and marriage.

“Let’s dance,” my beloved whispered in my ear as he took my hand. The floor was crowded, in a good way.

He didn’t need to ask twice. I snuggled closer as we moved among the other couples. Words seemed unnecessary, apart from sharing our gratitude and thanksgiving for our many years together and the multitude of ways God has blessed us.

The song finished all too soon. Sensing the mood and tone of the crowd, the deejay played another slow one, the perfect choice for the moment.

And then it happened.

I’d seen the young man enter the floor about twenty feet away. He was alone. But not for long. He was clearly on a mission. Couple by couple, he began cutting in, grabbing the arms of the unsuspecting females, sashaying about for a few moments, then dashing on to the next. The whole time the men were grinning, making sure to stay out of the way.

Under any other circumstance this unfolding of events would have seemed rude. Not on this occasion and for very good reason.

You see the young man at the center of the frenzy of activity is, by present day compassionate nomenclature, “differently abled”. As a result, he is child-like in the best sense. Carefree. Spontaneous. For all intent and purpose, oblivious to the finer rules of etiquette and proper manners.

Again and again he shouted, “Come on, I want to dance with you!”

Then it was my turn. My beloved and I had a split second to respond as the whirling feet and bundle of joy burst upon us. Jeffrey (not his real name) and I bobbled and wobbled and stepped and dipped. And then he was gone, on to the next lady-in-waiting.

And not a woman on that dance floor, or for that matter, her companion, would have wanted it any other way.

While it is true most of us know Jeffrey, there was no missing the mile-wide grin on his face, the light in his eyes, and the flit in his feet, the sum total more than enough to brighten the day of the (excuse the train wreck of grammar) curmudgeonliest curmudgeon in the room.

All of which brings me to the assemblage of apples.

They’re all red. Except one.

They’re all round. Although one has a leaf.

They’re all shiny and smooth. Oh, maybe a little bump here or there.

Kind of like the gathering at our Saturday evening soiree. All of us, beings created in the image and likeness of our Creator God. Yet enough variety and distinct difference to make things interesting. To provide opportunity for variety and uniqueness.

In the end, we were offered an unexpected gift—one we could accept with graciousness and the joy in which it was given.

No fancy wrappings. No profound words. No fear or hesitating. Just jumping its way into our lives in that moment, simply for the sake of being able to do so.

Methinks more than a few angelic beings, and for that matter, the Divine, were having just as much fun as we were.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Accumulating Knowledge is Not the Same as Living It

By Micky Wolf
Without a doubt, we have a multitude of technology devices at our fingertips these days.These various and sundry tools provide resources aplenty for gathering information and facts, storing, and transmitting them on an as needed basis.

Having access to all this information, data, and fact, is one thing, but what happens next? Do we gather, store, and retrieve for the primary purpose of increasing and expanding volume and quantity? To see how much we can assign and accumulate in the appropriately designated container?

What if the most important consideration centers on gathering, storing and retrieving process as intentional to putting it to good use? Living it out in our daily life?
Gathering and accumulating information and facts is a practice that goes back thousands of years.

For example:

Data painted on stone walls of caves.

Hieroglyphics carved or etched on wood or skins.

Intricate patterns of puffs of white smoke lifted to the heavens.

Given the evolving growth and development of peoples and cultures, in actuality, what really changes is the method and the means. In this era, and for many of us, electronic technology serves that purpose.

In many ways, you and I are human computers. We accumulate information and facts and store it in the hard drive called our brain. At the time it’s needed, we utilize the software our Creator has wired into our being—our reason, will, intellect, emotions, feelings, hands, feet—to put this information into action. To make it more than just words or symbols that identify a fact or byte of data.

However, it’s often not that simple or easy. How many times do we struggle with holding and guarding our knowledge? Making the choice to parse it out in precise, measured quantity in order to (we believe) maintain control or retain a (assumed) position of superiority? Share bits and pieces, leaving others to guess what might be missing?

It seems to me that knowledge and facts are of the greatest value when rendered in service of the greater good. Details of instruction, warning, encouragement or enlightenment are lifeless—apart from breath, spirit, and action—they remain a matter of the head and not of the heart.

It’s true, not all knowledge and fact is meant to be accessed. Just ask anyone who’s ever had to deal with a malware invasion of a computer. In those instances, we are well-advised to promptly and thoroughly dispose of the misinformation and data.

On the hand, let’s consider the beauty and wonder of what can happen when we open the Bible. Do more than recite it to ourselves. Or read it for the sake of pronouncement. What if, instead, we take the exhortations to heart? Allow them to flow through our veins and inhabit our breathing. What if we truly live them?

Knowledge of itself is not life. The Divine has made sure we know that for a living fact. And no less, in the form of the person of Jesus. The greatest rabbi who’s ever preached in a temple. Or sat on a hill and spoke to the thousands. Rode on a donkey. Or hung on a Cross.

If God had not chosen presence among us in human form, where would we be apart from that living witness in death? In resurrection? In the reality of Eternal Life?