+ Visiting Associate Professor at Union Theological Seminary + Co-director of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project + Founder and host of Three Minute Ministry Mentor + Author of the forthcoming Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life
As I lay face up on the table a few weeks ago, my massage therapist interrupted my reverie.
She said, “Do you know that your right leg is listing outward.”
“Nope, I had no idea really.” She was standing at my feet and gently adjusted my wayward right leg. “Now that you mention it . . . I notice what you are saying.” My left knee cap pointed straight toward the ceiling, but my right one was tilted outward.
On Thursday of this week I found myself stunned by beauty twice in an hour. Let me tell you about the first of those two moments. The evening before I’d been in something of a foul mood, feeling anger and disappointment, which can take their toll on a body. But the drive and conversation between St. Paul and Collegeville, Minnesota had tempered and mellowed me. I was open in mind and heart, relaxed in body, but I was unprepared for what lay ahead.
I’ve fallen for a rock band. Shocking, I know. Well, when you hear this song, I think you’ll understand my attraction. The group, Switchfoot released their latest album in November. “Hello Hurricane” has some fabulous tracks, and I’ve been filling myself up with them this Advent season.
The thing about falling is not the falling. That can be lovely in itself. Remember the “Nestea Plunge” into a pool on a hot summer day? Or falling into a really big pile of autumn leaves? Ever tried skydiving or hang gliding? Even running is actually falling and constantly catching yourself with each step. And of course there is falling in love . . .
No, the thing about falling is not the falling. It’s the hitting bottom. The landing. The thing about falling is the end of the fall.
I first learned the word “Advent” not as a season, but as a description of small cardboard calendars that my parents brought home from Europe. Each year following Thanksgiving, we unpacked them from musty decoration boxes . . .