It is pretty unusual for me to begin to write without a pretty good idea of where I am going. Even when I am doing something for work, it is hard for me to get started on something until visited by my "muse." When I was a fairly junior associate I once actually told a partner inquiring about the status of a brief a day before it was due to be filed that I had not yet started, "but don't worry, my muse never lets me down." I'm not sure that gave her too much comfort, but we worked through it and are friends now.
In fact, as I shared with a friend earlier this week, for better or worse, I find myself taking a similar approach with respect to this trip that I am about to take. For those of you that do not know, on Sunday I am headed back to Kenya for eight days. I'm very excited about the trip and I am excited about what we hopefully will be doing there long-term. I have no doubt that this is what I am supposed to be doing right now. But, for some reason, I am just not ready for the trip. It is not just that I haven't packed (I haven't, but I know that will get done). It is something different. For whatever reason, I'm just not feeling it yet.
I blame it on the fact that things are very busy right now. Lots to do at work. Things going on at home. Things to gather and get ready for the trip. Need to have my office completely packed for the move by the end of the week. Too many things have me distracted . . . .
As I told my friend this week, right now I am operating under the theory that my "muse" won't let me down. I figure that once I get on the plane Sunday night, I have a lot of time doing nothing but riding in airplanes before I actually arrive in Kenya. During that time I can focus on the trip and the purpose and then I will start feeling it.
Although I honestly believe that this will happen, it is still disconcerting to me to wonder why God hasn't given me that feeling yet. It is equally disconcerting that I can't even identify what it is that I feel like I should be feeling. Isn't it enough that God has impressed upon my heart that I should do this? Isn't it enough that God has surrounded me with a loving family that understands and supports these crazy trips? Isn't it enough that God has arranged everything so that this is possible?
Sometimes I wonder if God is harder for me to find when I am really, really looking. When I am expecting something. Tonight - attempting to remedy a mistake that I wrote about here before (8/8/08) - a friend and I took left over pizza from an event at work and attempted to deliver it to the local homeless population. First we went to a place right next door to the office where five or six people usually sleep. Nobody was there. Then we walked a couple of blocks to a park where another six or seven people usually sleep. Nobody was there either. Ultimately we found one person (back in the first place we looked) and we gave him the two and a half pizzas and asked that he share it with others. I expected, and wanted, this to be a great, uplifting experience for me and for her. Instead, it was kind of a dud.
Maybe the problem is with my expectations and trying to measure things by them. When I think about it, I understand that God isn't about being there just to make me feel good when I want to feel good. God isn't about what I think should happen, or how I think I should feel. It isn't that God isn't with me, I know that He is, it is that God isn't working on my terms and according to my deadlines. When it counts, He will never let me down. That doesn't mean, though, that He will always do what I think He is going to do, or what I want Him to do, or when I want Him to do it.
I think, perhaps, I need to take the advice of the Psalmist - "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him" Psalm 37:7 (NIV)