I got up late this morning....Well late for me. I woke up around 5 AM and thought, nope, not yet, not getting out of bed yet and rolled over. I reawakened about 6:45 AM, which is late for me.... early for vast swaths of people, but late for me. When this happens, for the rest of the day, I know I will feel as if I am always running behind: late for something. This is a silly feeling for I have no appointments this morning, and Mondays are normally my "clean-up from the weekend day and plan for next Sunday day". The office is always a bit more quiet on a Monday (helped by the fact that the rector takes Mondays off). As I'm preaching this coming Sunday, I usually use today also as a research and thinking day of how I might like to "shape" my sermon. So there really is no reason to worry or feel that I am running late today....but I already feel that pressure building, as imaginary and self-imposed as it may be.
And the Gospel reading from today's Daily Office doesn't help much with that feeling of impending "lateness" as we are given the parable of the Kingdom of Heaven being like the 10 bridesmaids. Perhaps that early rising-always planning-watchfulness comes from a deep rooted desire to be ready. But ready for what? I am sure it is not being ready for Jesus' return...but a readiness to do what God calls me to do, whatever that may be, whatever I may discern that to be. No one likes to be (or even worse) look foolish: I know I don't want to be one of the foolish bridesmaids without enough lamp oil....but try as I might, there are days and times when I am exactly like them.
Being ready I think has a lot to do with finding an inner peace: a place where we can find the strength to be gentle with ourselves and with others. A place where we find that wick that can light the flame that illumines God's love for us, God's gentleness and patience with us: even when we get up late.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.