I read our granddaughters Bible stories using some really cute books that come in a box. It's called God Loves Me Storybooks, the Bible in 52 Storybooks, The story of the Samaritan Woman at the well came up the last time I read one of those! And that was after I had already seen several other references to it. Then the Bible study I'm going to had a lesson on this story last night. And today I was going through my "Feedly" (a collection of blogs I read) and there was another one, a sermon by Nadia Bolz-Weber.
So, after all those "signs," I wondered whether there was something special I should try to glean from it. I've heard the story, of course, and never thought too much about it. I have a friend who suggested I re-read the story of Hagar and Ishmael when they try to escape because there are similarities and perhaps ties to this story, especially around the woman being seen by God. My sister suggested I re-read it and sit quietly receptive to insights that might come to me. Both of those are good ideas.
In the story of Hagar there are these verses, which talk about being seen: "She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me." (Genesis 16:13) And as we studied and read the story of Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman, it was significant that Jesus spoke and associated with a woman, which was unusual in itself, and on top of it a Samaritan. A parallel to Jesus seeing this woman, like Hagar being seen. It is good to reflect on the fact that Jesus/God sees me.
I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with the time I have left in life, and it is good to know God knows what is in my heart. He sees my innermost being. To be honest, I wish I could see it! I can't decide what to do with. I figure I don't have to make a decision that necessarily is definitive for the rest of my life, but I'd like to know a direction, a goal to pursue, the next step to take. Right now I'm trying to be patient as I think and pray of various things and wait for something to seem like the direction God wants me to go in. I signed up for a 5-day guided retreat at the Jesuit center that I am hopeful may help me.
Here are some thoughts that go around in my mind:
- Figure out what parts of my job I'd like to keep doing. Perhaps propose a change in my position that gives me more time on the parts I love, and that gives my co-worker a chance to advance.
- Do something that involves my fascination with Jesuit spirituality. I think the practices fit in wonderfully with our Reformed beliefs and practices. Could I write about that? Study the Jesuit practices more?
- Check into the Sierra Leadership initiative that Kevin Adams and Paul Vander Kley have put together. I signed up for attending the monthly session Paul holds, and I have gone to one or two seminars. Figure out a goal of what I want to get through that?
- Pursue the idea I have of making our church into a center for arts and worship. One issue there is no one else I've talked to about it seems at all enthused. Maybe it's not as good an idea as I think. And then there's the financial side. I can't just do all the work on a volunteer basis. I do have to make a living still.
- Maybe not worry about it, just continue as is, and pursue my interests on the side.
So there you have a lot of what's on the top of my mind right now. Does the woman at the well story have any bearing on that? Not so sure. I am also drawn to the references of "Here I am" in the Bible. I have written a little about that before, and just saw it again in a reference to Mary saying it when the angel told her she was going to become the mother of Jesus. I feel like I am in a "Here I am" moment.
I recently started following Paul Vander Kley in social media. I like what he says about his blog being a working space. I was feeling a little bad that my writing on my blog is so informal. I don't edit much at all. It's kind of my "shitty first draft," as Anne Lamott would say, or it's just plain a stream of consciousness. I read a lot about writing and writers all talk about writing being more about editing and re-work than anything else. But I feel better thinking as Paul writes, that my blog is a workspace, not finished work. And, as he says, I don't get much traffic so I don't need to worry about it.
If anyone who does take the time to read this has any thoughts, I'm open.