It’s one of my procrastination techniques. Cleaning out drawers.
I needed to get some writing done before I got a project back from my editor that’ll need all my attention.
Instead, I’m rummaging.
It began innocently enough. The little cubbies of my desk were stuffed, layered with dust and tiny paper tabs from spiral notebooks.
I tossed the old notes and greeting cards, and cardstock bookmarks, but there was a good sized handful of quotes, written on scraps of paper, that I wanted to keep. Which took me to the files…too many files. And then I wanted to find the envelope with all the sweet sentiments written from friends.
I sifted through boxes and drawer after drawer — picking at this, reading that, pulling starters for columns — and not coming up for air until three hours later. What was I thinking?
Indeed, what was I thinking?
When rummaging we look with an intent of finding something. Often going back to the same place a couple of times, certain that “it” is there, somewhere, we are sure of it.
It was a surprise to find multiple folders — in two drawers — tabbed as something spiritual. And to find within the folders hundreds of prayers, sayings, Bible quotes, insights, pages torn from Magnificat, tiny brochures, instructional booklets—some in triplicate in different locations—and handwritten 3×5 cards dated some thirty-five years ago. A Holy accumulation of impressive size!
I was searching, yes, and avoiding what I had to do, but why…for what?
A few days ago I had driven along farm lanes to the country church for morning Mass. There are only the four of us regulars. Walking in the nave was dark, altar candles unlit, and my three compatriots were absent. It wouldn’t be the first time that only Father and I shared communion. I waited and prayed as I watched the sunlight move across the stained glass of Jesus depicted kneeling against a rock —the Agony in the Garden.
As the tower bells rang out, and still no priest, I knew Mass would not be celebrated. I was caught off guard by my tears—no communion, no Jesus. I hungered for the Eucharist. It was too late to go into town and receive at another church. Reluctantly I stepped out of the pew and stood looking to the crucifix a few moments longer. Driving home I prayed the priest was okay…and felt sad.
Not so many years ago, before my reversion, it never occurred to me that people could hunger for Mass. This day I discovered that during those years of coming home I was rummaging for God.
In my seeking I gathered words and thoughts that guided. Incremental scraps tucked in a dozen different places, seeds of wisdom gleaned from saints and curious sinners. I stored them away for anticipated days of winter, those times of darkness when my soul would be adrift.
My decades long rummaging was not a wide eyed scanning of places “it” could be found. But more like the hand in the drawer feeling about back in the corners, shoving things aside, a little frantic at the not-finding-the-sought. Knowing full well “it” had to be there!
I think I am still searching for a few lost Keys.
All images by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB. All rights reserved.
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