Mind the Gaps
"Mind the gap" was the catch-phrase for our local public radio station's spring pledge drive. I take it as advice about my spiritual life. When there are gaps in my routine practices, I should take note; I should give the matter some mind.
As mentioned above, there has been a gap in our publication of this newsletter. I must confess that writing Reflection is frequently a delight, but sometimes a chore. More often than I would like to admit, we are scrambling to meet our self-imposed deadlines. (And - as you can see - when we stop imposing the deadlines, the newsletters stop coming.)
For me, writing Reflection is also a spiritual discipline. Many centuries ago, the Desert Fathers and Mothers identified "attentiveness" as both a virtue and a spiritual discipline. It is only through the discipline of paying attention that we are able "to grasp the beauty and mystery of ordinary things" (see Belden C. Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes, chap. 7).
Having a deadline for producing Reflection twice a month makes me pay attention. If I don't pay attention to what is going on around me and within, I will have nothing to write about. So I am forced by this discipline to pay attention to my life, to look more deeply, and to ponder what I see, I feel, and I hear.
None of our spiritual disciplines - daily prayer, journaling, fasting, lectio divina, whatever - are ends in themselves. Rather, they are means to an end: to help us step back from mindless routine, from the daily rat race, and to be mindful - to truly pay attention to the passing events of each day, as well as to the deep currents beneath the surface of our lives.
Each of these disciplines helps us to listen for the still, small voice of God.