We are works in progress as the Church, as a congregation, and as persons of faith.
When we strive to build on what we do well and work on what we can do better, there is a huge potential for happiness and there’s a huge potential for growth of all kinds.
We talk about wanting to grow, but don’t talk much about being happy. It’s easier to get caught up in what isn’t working or to complain about what we don’t have than it is to celebrate the blessing of potential.
The thing about potential is that it’s realized by someone or something that tips the balance, precipitates the change, invites the difference. That can happen in various ways.
There’s a wonderful tool, a simple purple wristband, created by Will Bowen to help people realize just how often we complain. You can read about him and his project at www.acomplaintfreeworld.org. One of the churches I’ve served as interim pastor used the wristbands as part of its Lenten focus. It generated a lot of conversation about awareness.
Tools like Will’s wristband really are about becoming aware. Another word for that is mindfulness: paying attention – on purpose. We’ve done some of that together in the past few months. Walking the labyrinth is about mindfulness. So is lectio divino – reading scripture with intention and purpose. Prayer certainly is about mindfulness. Talking about race invites mindfulness; so does debating how we make decisions. We need mindfulness: it’s the key to abiding happiness.
We need the respite of mindlessness too. It’s the key to immediate happiness. Sometimes I enjoy doing something ‘mindless’, like seeing a silly film (I loved Alice Through the Looking Glass) or rambling about why using a Designated Hitter isn’t real baseball (because it’s not).
We need mindfulness and mindlessness. We need abiding happiness as well as immediate happiness. We need potential and we need it to be realized. We need stability and we need to rock the boat, not for the sake of staying the same nor for the sake of change in and of itself, but because we are living beings. And we are works in progress.
May the summer bring you the happiness of renewed energy, greater hope, and deeper peace.
The Reverend Jill H. Small