Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Katrina sent me on a journey.
Knowingly, purposefully, she set my feet on the path and said "go."
We recently were in New York for Warren's mid-winter managers meeting with the League of American Orchestras. Sunday evening, as Katrina and I talked and talked, she suddenly looked me square in the face and told me there was something she wanted me to do.
When Katrina fixes me with that "I'm serious" look in her blue eyes, I have learned to shut up and listen.
"I want you to have a relationship with God, April."
I don't remember her exact words. But those are close enough. She then told me she wanted me to commit to reading The Purpose Driven Life over the next 40 days - a chapter a day until I was done.
Katrina and I have never really discussed my beliefs or faith and it is something I touch on only occasionally in this blog. When she told me what she wanted, I didn't squirm. But I did hedge. I told Katrina that God probably had a deeper role in my life than she realized.
But, as I said, Katrina in her adamant mood is not to be taken lightly.
There was more to our conversation than this bare bones recital. She made some heartfelt observations about me and gifts in my life that moved me deeply. I talked about my beliefs with her more openly that night than I am willing to talk with almost anyone else.
And I carried the book home with me.
I let the book sit in my reading pile for the first several days back without so much as opening it. There was too much "noise" going on in our lives when we got back: no lights, no heat, no phone, no internet when we returned because of ice storms, then I had to get the grant filed, and then…
…and then I ran out of excuses.
The book was still there just sitting quietly, waiting for me.
I felt a little like Jonah, who when God ordered him to go to Nineveh, instead headed the opposite direction. I wanted to dig my heels in and put it off again.
The book still just sat there.
And, finally, quietly, I picked it up and read the first chapter.
One of the things Katrina and I talked about that night was listening to God. I believe God talks to us - any of us, all of us - all the time, but we don't hear Him because it is too noisy in our lives - because we are too noisy in our lives. (I recently said to a friend, complaining that God never spoke to her, "how do you know He hasn't and you just weren't listening?")
I am only on Day 3 of the book and there are 37 to go. Each day I have to think ahead as to how and when I will read the day's chapter. I have to carve out quiet and space to read a chapter. A line from a novel by western writer Molly Gloss always comes to mind: "[s]he prayed silently a few moments to clear her mind of all the scraps and candle-ends of the day..."
Even in just three days, I have had to clear my mind of the candle-ends of my day before concentrating on a chapter.
I don't know where my reading will lead me. The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote "every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware."
I don't know what my destination is. It may be different than the one that Katrina has envisioned for me, and it may be different than any one that I can conjure up.
I just know I'm on a journey.