Saturday, September 03, 2005

Learning to be Distracted ::

Distraction is a paradox. The value of distraction as a place on the journey of Christ is its ability to help us break out of our ruts and pick up the trail of God's new direction. These distractions are what James Hillman, in The Soul’s Code, refers to as “trivial gusts that take you off course and seem to be delaying your projected arrival in the teleological harbor.” Don’t point your compass “too fixedly on the far horizon,” he warns. These accidental gusts have purpose, which can be seen only by the purposive eye. Life is about learning to make the little corrections in our course as a consequence of these gusts—adjustments that shape the form of our soul.

Making these course adjustments is one of the arts of the spiritual life. We set our course, then alter it; set it, then alter it—always with an eye on the horizon where our home port lies.

Distractions are the comets of the night sky. The expert astrono­mers know the orbits of the planets and the coordinates of the constella­tions. With legions of huge telescopes they study the heavens nightly. But, every now and again comes a new comet. Some have been discovered by amateur stargazers with mere binoculars. Coming out of nowhere, they evoke our awe and fear.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist or theologian to be encountered by God. In the spiritual universe of the soul, the star maps are drawn by the surveyors of religion, but the most exciting discoveries are made by the explorers of experience. One knows the book of God; the other knows God. One knows the laws of God; the other, the love of God. One knows how things should be; the other wonders how things could be.

Distraction is an intersection of colliding views of God and life. At this crossroads staid predictability gets sideswiped by mystery.

Distraction is invitation. Think back to the precursors of the significant events in your life. Were they planned or discovered? Your first encounter with the person you married. A big break in your career. A turn in your health. First encounters with persons who now are good friends.

In what ways are the currents of God's distractions stirring your life these days?


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