Friday, October 21, 2011

A Venetian Archimedes!!!

A personal reflection today.  Reading Father Richard Rohr's Leaning Forward I found myself trapped for a short time by the following thought.  For most human being life has to parts, two halves, to phases.  Called what you may.  There come different moments in our lives when there is what Fr. Rohr calls a "crossover" moment.  These are moments which some recognize but which many do not perceive until after the fact.  These are the times when insights, events, joys or painful tragedies or simple messy human failures occur.    So often we focus on the event rather than what is the event trying to teach us.  Almost immediately our focus is drawn to the past.  Rarely do we look at the very moment, the present.  We might even look to the future.  However, we tend to forget, or perhaps fear, looking at the hear and now.  The "crossover" moments are not restricted to monks and cloistered religious sisters, to priests, bishops or even popes.  Everyone is offered more than a few "crossover moments in the span of a lifetime.   Fr. Rohr makes an interesting observation:  every opportunity to make a crossover is not taken; some keep their "crossover" moments entirely to themselves.  Whatever the reason for a "crossover" moment, we do know that it has occurred when I can say, at least to myself, today I am different than I have been for many years in my life.  I know it didn't happen when I put my feet on the floor this morning and wiggled my toes.  But for one reason or another I know I have become different to some degree from the person I was ten years ago twenty years ago, etc..

My father was a very practical man ... a cabinet make and draftsman because of his high school training.  When working with him in "the shop" (our name for his cabinet making plant), if there was a need to move a heavy cabinet or piece of machinery, he always reverted to Archimedes.  Yes, that Richmond, VA man knew about this character from one of his high school classes.  Why Archimedes?  Because figure of mythology be that all he needed was a place to stand and a lever to move the world just a little.  Get a crow bar or a sturdy piece of wood and we could save our backs when lifting or moving whatever was much more than our own weight!

In our lives this character can have a place when we find ourselves trying to accomplish something even within ourselves.  To know what to use as a lever and to know where to stand is one of those "crossover" moments because in know who I am and what it is the God wants of me, I can move my world even if just a very small distance from where it has been to where it should be.  Our lever and our place to stand in the spiritual world is our soul.  It is a part of our spiritual DNA.  It comes with the package that God made when he placed each of us in his world.  As Father Rohr thinks, we have to be careful not to fence it in by our ways of thinking and doing.   The soul needs to be given free range in its growth.  We cannot hinder its growth.  We should not stymie its development.  We should always be willing to listen to the words of the Holy Spirit bringing us closer to that awareness of God's plan and how I can make those "crossover" moments that make my life a true "leaning forward."