Saturday, November 17, 2007
I think some of the really tough spiritual work we do can be compared to a plumbing job. By "really tough spiritual work" I mean the digging in the corners of our past and bringing our sins to light so we can honestly ask for forgiveness, dealing with our "demons" (e.g., self-doubt, anger, pride, prejudice, the "isms", the list goes on and on...), confronting loneliness, depression, illness, or tragedy and reconciling that with the promise of God's constant love and mercy. There are probably a host of other things that could be mentioned on that list, but hopefully you get the picture. Metaphorically, I think it's like plumbing for the following reasons:
1) If you're a novice, you're pretty much guaranteed at least 6 trips to the hardware store (a.k.a. spiritual storehouse) before the job is actually done.
2) If you mickey mouse a job the first time you *fix* it, you will pay the consequences later. The second time around, the job may even be more extensive than it would have been if it had been done right the first time.
3) There are lots of details that may seem unimportant when you set off to the store, but become increasingly important as you decide which items you need.
4) You are forced to work generally for one of 3 reasons: a) a flood/overflow b) a leak c) things are backed up. Spiritually, these three things also occur...a flood might be likened to a crisis; the leak to some incessant problem that isn't major, but could be if it's allowed to persist; being backed up to not feeling the flow of the Spirit, or of creativity, or of spiritual disciplines...something is impeding what would otherwise be the natural movement of things.
5) When embarking on this kind of work, you're pretty much guaranteed to deal with crap...either the literal variety or the figurative stuff--the slimy, nasty, black sludge that builds up over time. Either way, it's gross and most of us would rather retreat than finish the job, but, your spiritual journey is important, just like plumbing , and it can't go left undone on the floor for very long before things really do get nasty!