As a way of staff-building, our pastor takes us on little outings. I like to call them church perks. Last week we went to lunch at Rubios (yum) and out to see the new movie, “Fireproof.” It’s a great Christian movie about the efforts of a man to repair his broken marriage. As I sat among my married colleagues a deep pain surfaced in my heart. Unlike the movie, as a widow, there is no possibility for a happily-ever-after in this world. I fled to the privacy of my car for a good cry.
Home again to an empty nest, I snuggled my cat and thought, Geez… I’m officially a cat woman, and a lonely old cat woman I will die. I commiserated with my friend Lowie in Colorado who had a crummy day at work. I whined to her about my feeling empty in the light of the movie we saw. She made the suggestion that I have a good talk with the Lord and ask him to fill the emptiness. So, I lit a candle, sat in my chair and spoke to the couch as if Jesus was actually sitting there and let him have it with both barrels. I asked him to do something—anything to lift my spirits.
The next day, I thought a lot about my time alone and all the things I could accomplish instead of delving into self-pity. I made a list and then a friend told me about this online “Fly-lady” system to a clean house. It boils down to 15-minute increments of intense cleaning. So I busied myself and got some stuff done.
Up early Saturday morning, I shared a Richard Rohr CD on the Little Way of Spirituality with my centering prayer group. He quoted St. John of the Cross stating that God hates a vacuum. Where there is one, he must fill it. When we are feeling broken and empty he sends friends to share our walk and help fill the void. He even sent his Son so we would understand the way to live with promises of eternal life. God fills us with good things! Like Peter walking on water, when we lose our trust in him, we sink. We sink into our problems, losses and dreaded self-pity. Yuck! Who wants to live there when we can be living joyfully, filled with scripture and friends with our sights set on eternal life?
If we keep our focus on God, we find peace, joy and love—the fruit of God’s Spirit within. We don’t die lonely old cat women with a messy house. No, we share our clean and shiny cat-women adventures and spread seeds of hope and fulfillment through the gospel we proclaim. Keeping our minds and hearts filled with the Lord in times of loneliness is just another reason why faith matters. God himself hears our prayers, sends insight and friends and fills us up 15 minutes at a time!
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now,
you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).”