Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!


(From the University of Dayton website)

1 Samuel 1:21-28:

The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and remain there forever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.” Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only—may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” She left him there for the Lord.

Another passage I reflected on in the Advent Quiet Morning was the passage above out of the first meditative session.

One of the things I thought about was the process of Hannah weaning little Samuel.

I can't believe she didn't have second thoughts about her decision to take him to the temple and leave him. I bet she subconsciously didn't want to wean him.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she sort of held off weaning him--maybe till he got teeth, because once he got teeth, she'd be more ready to give it up. I imagine holding him, watching his little face as he suckled, feeling the pleasure of it, her heart begging to feed him from herself--of herself--as long as she could, because she knew she was planning on giving him up.

Maybe he didn't take to being weaned all that well, either, and was kinda fussy about it. I mean, after all, he knew he could get a meal there, and he liked being with her, hearing her breathe, feeling her heart beat next to him.

Even though he might have been starting to have teeth and was beating the crap out of her nipples, I would not be surprised that Hannah might have tried to put him away from her bosom, and give him solid food, and as he fussed and spat, she would desperately pull him to her and let him feed from her "just one more time." Even though she was getting weary of feeding him and he wasn't getting enough to eat and needed more solid food, she might have been getting more and more anxious about this. As he sat there with his little spoon, feeding himself with a smile on his face, she cried--all the while saying, "Oh, what a BIG boy, what a GOOD boy you are!" I could feel how her heart must have been so torn.

I thought about all those things we literally place on the altar in the form of our gifts and prayers, as well as those things and people we place on the altar as we give them up--the five year old with the shiny new backpack getting on the school bus, the tail lights of the last child heading off for college, the person we thought would be our "forever soulmate" but love turned sour, the elderly relative whose dementia accelerates and the trip to the nursing home is imminent.

We place these people on the altar, same as a check. We give them up to God. We give up our control in their lives, and trust them to their own fates, with God's help.

But there is always that time between when we've made a decision and when we actually do it. That can be the most agonizing stuff to process. When "go through with the decision" time actually comes, we can buck up to it in ways we can't fathom--no doubt--but in that little lag time between "decision" and "action" we can make ourselves bonkers.

We will take on pain at times, NOT to make that decision, just as Hannah might well endured the pain of nursing a child who had a few teeth erupting.

Sometimes it is the weaning itself that is painful, whether we are the one doing the weaning or the one being weaned.

All of us, at one time or another, knew something was coming to an end. The other person in our lives was ready to move to the next place--a growing place--in their lives, and we knew the thing to do was let them go. All of us, at one time or another, have experienced the foreboding of change in the air, and sensed that loss of some sort would be part of that change even if the overall experience would result in growth--a job change, a change in our finances, or new possibilities of some sort. It was time--these people or things or situations were feeding on us to the point our health would be damaged.

Conversely, when we are the one being weaned, we might long for the familiarity of "the way things used to be," but we know we are growing--we can feel it--and the familiar old places are not nutritious enough to let us grow into what we are meant to be.

In the that waiting period between "decision" and "action," we feel love and longing, grief and growth, all at the same time. We feel impatience that time doesn't move fast enough to bring us to the new place, and agony that some good things have run their course, their time is over.

This waiting place is a very holy space--if we can accept the gamut of feelings that make it holy.

2 comments:

I serve in Vermont and our small rural towns sound similar to your own experience. Thanks for caring about the "donut holes" in rural areas. God will use people like you to help fill those holes. You might want to consider the book, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church. It is published by CrossBooks, but you can find it cheaper at Amazon.com. God bless, and keep up the great work.

Thanks Terry. Your comment ended up over on the previous post, (quirk of the layout can be confusing on some browsers) but I will take the sentiment no matter how you post it! I'll take a look at the book you recommend. I pray every day for people "out there" who feel called to this somewhat hidden mission, as well as discernment for what my place is within it.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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