Guide me by your fidelity and teach me your ways...

The idea of God’s fidelity struck me in this excerpt from a prayer I found based on Psalms 25. Faithfulness and fidelity; are they the same thing?  For some reason fidelity seems to be a bit more if that is possible.  God’s fidelity isn’t directed toward me; it casts a wider net.

God’s work and my work and the world’s going on are intertwined; not simply separate duties so to speak.  Even though I am in the midst of the work I do now, new opportunities are beginning to be front and center.  I selected text books for courses I will teach in the fall, put my upcoming position as my workplace on a new project, and am cleaning out files and furniture that no longer will serve us there.

The idea of fidelity reminded me that this move is more than “a job” as always and  a place of possibility for all of us involved.   This place and I found each other and God was in the thick of it.  That’s what God’s fidelity means to me; not that I found a place that is a good fit for me– and this new position certainly is– but also part of God’s fidelity is that I meet the university’s need.  I am the person God sent to them.

Buechner again adds his insight,

We can speak of a man’s choosing his vocation, but perhaps it is at least as accurate to speak of a vocation’s choosing the man, of a call’s being given and a man’s hearing it, or not hearing it.  And maybe that is the place to start: the business of listening and hearing. A man’s life is full of all sorts of voices calling him in all sorts of directons.  Some of them are voices from inside and some of them are voices from outside. The more alive and alert we are, the more clamorous our lives are.  Which do we listen to?  What kind of voice do we listen for?

The dictionary definition of “fidelity” is faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.  God’s fidelity works through all of those: persons, causes, beliefs so that somehow all the myriad of voices and experiences come together. And with a bit of luck and listening, we find that way.





This Day

Live in the needs of the day, Buechner writes.

That means today I live in the needs of this day.

I haven’t been taking that to heart, head, or body during the last few days. Moments of fear that I don’t know how everything is going to work in the coming months, scared into the “what if’s,” and sidelined by the realization of what I didn’t think about—those are the needs I’ve been most responsive to; distracted from my everyday routines when I least expect it.

What does it mean today to live in the needs of this day? How do I realistically plan for the changes ahead or do I?  Could paying attention—to what is new, what is challenging, how I am using my gifts, where my water is that includes going to the grocery store, cleaning out clutter that I don’t want to move, grading and  emailing, having lunch with my friend—be what to do?

Yesterday for several hours I was totally immersed in helping a new instructor in a course I’ve taught many times. I had already sent him my recent syllabus and detailed instructions for major assignments. As I responded to his queries in our phone conversation, I realized my propensity for talking too much when asked a simple question. I continued afterward in the written equivalent of “talking too much” to rework what I promised to send him and email a former student for permission to share an example of classwork- more stuff.

Lamenting my perceived mismanagement of my time for this day, I said to my husband, “Why did I spend so much time on that?” The hidden layer of meaning in that question being: there are so many things I haven’t gotten to today and I should have done those.

“Maybe it’s your gift,” he simply said.

It’s so easy to get caught up in things that seemingly don’t really matter or maybe they do matter. How do you know when you are in the midst of the everydayness?

In that span of time when I was engaged with “helping” I wasn’t aware of time being spent nor did I conjure up any fears or what if’s. Actually, I didn’t really think about what I was doing, I was immersed in figuring out how to respond, unconscious of myself, to this person I really don’t even know in this particular situation that happened.

The question is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God’s things because, of course, they are both at once. There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak—even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. God speaks, I believe, and the words he speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of our selves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys. 

Don’t be afraid. Maybe that is your gift. Remember and at the same time forget so that you can be fully immersed in the presence of this moment.

 Follow your feet. Put on the coffee. Start the orange juice, the bacon, the toast. Then go wake up your children and your wife. Think about the work of your hands… Live in the needs of the day.