Lots of Opps
I spent this past weekend teaching a two-day class on technology and social media in ministry. [If you haven’t seen it yet and want to… key here is ‘want to’… you can learn more about my new projects here: LanePlane.com. There is always something cooking on the stove in my world.]
As is typically the case, there were lots of opportunities to practice patience and compassion. I think we all have those moments where we can choose to react negatively or positively. In fact, I am never without another chance to perfect the skill in the moment. I am starting to think that this is the whole of the spiritual life… to forgive and reconcile for offenses great and small… conscious and unconscious.
How about you? Does God put lots of opps in your everyday path too?
Attempt at Holiness
I know that all of these kinds of encounters with people are meant to guide me down the road to real holiness. I need to practice and re-practice the art of duck-ness… that is… letting the hurts roll off my back without presuming that people are intentionally malicious. Sometimes they are… I have come face-to-face with some truly mean-spirited people. [As an aside, I don’t recommend hanging out with them any longer than is absolutely necessary. They just drag you down and make you sad… and honestly, who needs that?]
But the art of duck-ness is a very important skill to craft. It comes in mighty handy, usually when you least expect it.
The Art of Duck-ness
I started the second day of the tech class with a prayer service that I call: Dwell in Possibility. It’s a powerful prayer for me because it came from a very painful time in my life… a time when all I could do was keep breathing and dwell in the possibility that better days were coming.
After a whole day of learning about how to use social media for ministry, I framed our prayer in the context of this question: What seems more possible to you now for your ministry work?
There is always a person in a class like this that you can’t read nor predict what they are thinking or feeling. Sure ’nuff…. she was the first one to speak and said:
Well, nothing seems more possible because I didn’t learn anything new yesterday.
There was literally an audible gasp around the room… and I could read the faces of everyone else as they thought silently: I can’t believe she said that out loud!
Then… I went into a dream sequence… just like the ones in movies that last 15 minutes or longer in dream time but really only a flash of a second passes in real life. I was flying through every activity we had done the day before, wondering how she could have not learned anything new. Really? Nothing? Not even a tidbit? Impossible. [… with God all things are possible… hmmm…]
Without skipping a beat, I said to her: Okay [even though we were still in the dream sequence]… Someone else… what feels more possible today?
She was waiting for my reaction… but there wasn’t one. I was proud in that moment to be an authentic duck. And it was only because I’ve taken advantage of so many other opportunities to practice. Thank you Jesus.
Only the False Self Takes Offense
When I was at the National Conference for Catholic Youth Ministry back in December, I was lucky to sit in on a session by Fr. Richard Rohr… check out the Center for Action and Contemplation if you haven’t seen it. And I heard him say this:
Only the false self takes offense.
So I’ve been going back to that wisdom again and again to assess my own duck-ness. And it’s true… only my false self feels the sting and hurt from the inconsiderate or ignorant or plain rude people that I encounter regularly. So the art of duck-ness actually is helping my false self to shrink. I am moving toward a greater degree of wholeness and holiness. [Definitely not there yet but I’m making progress.]
So I just share that with you all today in the hopes that you too will become a Mighty Duck!