Thursday, December 04, 2008

We, the ordinary people of the streets

I have Sue at Discombobula and Barbara at Barefoot Toward the Light to thank for this. It's a quote from Madeleine Delbrel. I have spent most of my life and a great deal of effort trying to escape ordinariness of one kind or another, but chiefly in myself. Religion and spirituality have often been my means of escape. But these words remind me of something that first drew me to Christ a long time ago.

"We, the ordinary people of the streets, have the distinct impression that solitude is not the absence of the world, but the presence of God.

"Our solitude is the encounter with God everywhere. For us, being alone in a crowd is participating in the solitude of God.

"God is so great that there is no place for anything else., everything is within God.

"For us, the whole world is the meeting place with the One whom we cannot avoid. We encounter God's living plan right there on the busy street corners. We encounter God's splendor in the laws of nature and science. We encounter God's imprint on the earth. We encounter Christ in all these `little ones' who are his own, the ones who suffer in their bodies, the ones who are bored, the ones who are troubled, the ones who are in need of something. We encounter Christ rejected in countless acts of selfishness.

"How could we possibly have the heart to mock these people or to hate them, this multitude of sinners of whom we are a part?

"Godly solitude is the love of people, it is Christ serving Christ, Christ in the one who is serving and Christ in the one being served. How could such activity be for us a distraction from God or mere busyness and noise?

"We, the ordinary people of the streets, are certain we can love God as much as he might want to be loved by us.

"We do not think love will he something extraordinary, but something all-consuming. We believe that doing the little thing in union with God is as loving as our greatest activities. Besides, we are unaware of the size of the measurements of our own activities. We know that everything we do can only be small and everything that God does in us is always great. And so we go about our activities with a sense of great peace.

"We know that all our work consists of being at peace, one with God, while not avoiding the very things that need to be done. Basically it is letting God act through us. ...

"It matters little what we have to do, pushing a broom or a pen, speaking or listening, sewing a dress or teaching a class, taking care of a sic person or tapping away at a computer.

"All this is the meeting place of God, minute by minute, the very place where God's love is revealed."

1 comment:

Sue said...

Did I post that quote? I didn't post that quote - did I?

See how discombobulated I am?

It is interesting, what you said, about trying to escape ordinariness of one kind or another. I have been doing a few enneagram tests lately (here, if you're interested: to try to work out what I am. I think I am a 4, the individualist, which says:

"Fours build their identities around their perception of themselves as being somehow different or unique; they are thus self-consciously individualistic."

Hmmm, I don't know if I feel comfortable with that. I don't want to try to be different to other people just because, you know? I hate doing these sorts of tests :)

I so love that Delbrel sentence where she says, "We, the ordinary people of the streets, have the distinct impression that solitude is not the absence of the world, but the presence of God." I guess it legitimises it for me. I spend so much time alone, and I know that sometimes it is because being around other people is a breaking out of my comfort zone, even though I do love being around others. So I guess sometimes it's a withdrawal for different reasons. But still, mostly it is because I feel most myself just alone with me and God, know what I mean?