Our Championship Call

In this season of graduations and ordinations, the Women’s College World Series, French Open, Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Playoffs, I remember that once I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer.  I belonged to an aquatic club, and trained with an Olympian.  I swan thousands of miles.  I competed at bunches of swim meets.  Once, I earned a blue ribbon in a state competition.

I continued training and swimming, at great cost.  My shiny brunette waves faded to green frizz.  I battled recurrent sinus infections, ear aches and itchy, dry skin more than opponents in the pool.  No matter how much I trained, I couldn’t keep pace.  I realized that I’d never be as good as the Olympic hopefuls.  And, as I watched a classmate win medal after medal, with tremendous strength and ease, I realized something greater: I wasn’t willing to train harder.  Swimming for Olympic gold was her calling, not mine.

Each of us has a divine call, to be a champion, to do something which truly blesses our world.  This call, whatever it may be, allows us to express the essence of who we are as divine creations of God, source of ever-abiding grace, infinite compassion and unconditional love.

And this grace, which some believe we must earn, is always free, always available, as soon as we decide to release the suffering, struggle and strife of trying to be someone we are not.  When we spiritually, if not physically, lay down, as Jesus urged (Matthew 11:28), the burdens we thought we were “supposed” to carry, and align ourselves with God.

Our championship call, no matter who we are, where we’ve been, what we’ve done or who we love, is to express our divinity, to radiate it far and wide, as Jesus did, so God’s divine works can be declared through us, as us.

Our championship call is to remove the bushel basket hiding our light (Matthew 5:15) and to shake the dust of what no longer serves us off our feet (Matthew 10:14), so we can succeed in far greater ways than we first imagined.  No competitions or contests required.

As we grow in spiritual maturity, we realize: We can’t be it all, do it all or have it all.  We also realize: That isn’t our call.   And as we align with God — and God’s will, which is always for our highest and best — our intuitive sense grows stronger and our still, small voice clearer.  We discern what is ours to do and what is not.  We discover rewards at each destination.  We rejoice in the beauty and wonder of our journey and the blessings of those who travel with us, for however long.  We cheer, with admiration, appreciation and love, for those who finish first, as well as those who finish last, because we behold the presence of God they are, always the mark of a true champion.

© 2017 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

Waiting and Waiting and Waiting Some More

The path around the pond is gray. The grass, normally lush this time of year, lies in brown clumps and pale green patches.  Even the hanging moss looks beleaguered, drooping from dry limbs.

The pond itself is half its size and the fountain is still.  A dull mechanism sits in the shallow center like a fallen robot.  Muddy water ripples only in a spring breeze.  While last season I trekked mud home, now there’s only dust, so fine it somehow seeps through my socks and into the crevices of my toes.

The duck family sits along a dry bank, as if the water is too stale and warm for bathing, drinking or swimming.  The largest duck waddles to the edge, like an old lady dabbing her toe into a pool, then turns back to the others and quacks, as if to say the water is too warm to be refreshing.  She settles herself in a shady spot free of the late afternoon sun.  I like to imagine that we share the same thought, wondering when the rains will come.

Many here wait for rain, longing for it, like the imminent grace we can’t yet feel.  I now feel silly carrying an umbrella and imagine saying, “Fine, God. I’ll call Your bluff.  Let it pour so I’m soaked to the bone and glad about it.”

Alas, God never plays our game of bluff.  And the pond recedes further to reveal a mid-bank which divides the sections in half, like a hard-boiled egg split in two.  I continue my walks, contemplating the dull patches, faded leaves and shriveled berries even the birds ignore.  I continue to walk, and wait, knowing that rain must come soon, though I know not when.

In scripture, someone always waits.  Time after time, in so many ways, we’re told to wait upon the Lord, wait for a sign, wait for God.  As I consider verse after verse, I realize that our ancient ancestors seem as impatient as we are, and they didn’t have fast food, drive-through pharmacies or Netflix.

Waiting for rain, or anything else requires a certain level of faith and trust, as well as perseverance and strength.  It isn’t easy to wait, wait and wait some more, trusting that we’ll meet the love of our life; land the perfect job; receive hopeful test results; get admitted to the university, society, program, club of our choice; grow our savings; age gracefully.

Tom Petty understood this when he sang:

The waiting is the hardest part . . .
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part.

I want the wait for rain — and all else I desire — to be as easy as possible.  So, for now, I leave the umbrella home.  My tote bag — and my mind — are lighter.  Soaking, steady rain will come again, and I’ll let it wash over me, the way God’s grace always does, exactly when we need it most.

© 2017 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.