Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Digging Irrigation Ditches

A very wise Dominican Sister from the Nashville order once told me, "Praying the Psalms is like digging irrigation ditches for when the rains come."

Admittedly, I have a bit of writer's block. This silly Lenten experiment may have run out of steam. Unconditioned for this type of creation maybe I just don't have anything else to say (which many people would have said about 100 posts ago). My pre-Lent 2013 approach was to allow myself the time, circumstance, and grace to be inspired before writing. Now, to a certain extent, I feel as if I'm just putting down my sleep deprived musings in electronic form, with little to no real muse, forethought or even afterthought (there's another blog post to write tomorrow!). It would have been a noble attempt regardless, but as I thought about taking the night off from blogging, exercising, doing school work, or even praying, Sr. Anna Laura Karp's words rose over the horizon: "Praying the Psalms is like digging irrigation ditches for when the rains come."

Just start to write. In fact, just write about digging irrigation ditches.

Now, I do not believe that anything written here is preparing me for when rains will come. Nor do I feel that these words will be so poignant as to help a loyal reader (thanks Zelenka family!) when their fields become saturated. But, I do see writing this blog as a potential way to find inspiration for myself to help me stay faithful to my Lenten promise. I see it as a way to allow God to speak to me and potentially to allow God to speak to you through me.

Dig the ditch; have faith that it will rain. Write;  inspiration will follow.

I have been so busy and tired lately that working out has become, along with blogging, a late night / early morning activity.  I always feel better after a workout. My pre-workout feelings, though, can often keep me from exercising. It is during these times of disinterest that digging ditches can help to maintain a level of fitness so that I can more readily enjoy the moments of plentiful passion. It can also, through those feel good endorphins, change my mood mid-workout. Take the first step. Do the first push-up. Jump the first rope.


The same is true of staying current with work. Chipping away, especially during rare lulls or after wrapping up big projects, is so much more successful than procrastinating and eating the entire elephant in one sitting. How often do we give a similar message to students: study just a little bit each night and then you won't have to put in a large amount of studying the night before a test. We wouldn't tell our students this if it wasn't sage advice. We know it's true.

So, dig.

Finally, most importantly, and obviously most apparently, is how this applies to our faith lives. Jesus goes into the desert. We follow Him there. He thirsts. So do we. Our faith is not always the bountiful banquet or abundant harvest. Sometimes its dry. Barren. Deserted. Desolate. It is precisely during these times that we should pray. It is exactly during these times that we need to be digging irrigation ditches to either withstand the deluge or take advantage of the nourishment.

So, dig an irrigation ditch.

You never know when it's going to rain.