|5/18/2020 Kathleen MacInnis Kichline|
THE SPACE WITHIN TIME
Victor Frankl writes, "Between a stimulus and a response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”
Herein lies our growth and our freedom. Within that brief millisecond, it is ours to determine the weight we will assign to what we have seen or heard and what impact it will have on us. It is ours to decide what will be our response. All in that millisecond.
Because it carries so much portent, the space that Frankl describes, though brief, must, of necessity, be deep. Our western concept of time is irretrievably linear and, often, seen as in movement--swift movement at that. But in the stutter step of a paused movement, another dimension of depth opens up to us.
"There's a world of meaning in every spade of earth." I still recall that line from one of John-boy Walton's neighbors. The young, would-be author was dreaming of far-flung places but paused to talk with an elderly black woman, up to her elbows in earth from her garden, a woman who'd never traveled 50 miles away but imbued, nonetheless, with enviable wisdom.
What if we're missing something? What if there's "a world of meaning" if we but bend down and dig deep? What would that look like?
Once upon a long-ago time, a chance encounter with a long-lost friend first introduced me to the idea of deep time. She'd moved some distance away and I'd not seen her for years. But there she was, out and about, and looking good, and I was surprised, for I knew she had a chronic and ultimately, terminal disease. Her son whom I remembered as a boy, was now going away to college. She smiled, "I sure enjoyed his graduation. I know I may not be there for his next one, but I know he's going to make it." I asked about her health. "Not good," she said, "but here's the thing. I may not get to dance with Jamie at his wedding and I may never get to hold a grandchild in my arms, but God has given me so much now and has taught me that time does not have to be long if it is deep.” Her hope, she said, came from 2 Peter 3:8. "Do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” She lived with the promise and the expectation of each given day being a thousand years deep. "I may not have been given length of days, but I have been given depth of days."
Depth of days. What would it mean to live that way? This kind of awareness often comes to us from those whose lives are at risk; Frankl survived Auschwitz and Dachau and Kit lived daily with the knowledge that she was terminally ill. But what about those of us caught up in the routine of day to day living? What if we could bring such awareness to bear in our lives, and in that space or millisecond that Frankl describes?
It seems impossible. The span is far too short, that space between stimulus and response. How can we possibly discern all that seems necessary? Only by recognizing in this brief space, the opportunity for a sacred pause, a place where we can enter deep time, God’s time.
Here we exist in a subliminal, eternal space where length of time is irrelevant, for Eternity, God, is not bound by time. Here we may pause ever so briefly and be intentional. We can choose to align ourselves and our intentions with God’s larger Purpose for ourselves and beyond ourselves. This space is not about discerning or arriving at understanding—God’s Purpose is beyond all that. It is about acknowledging there is more here than meets the eye, that "it’s not about me,” that God is afoot in this world and in my life, that I can choose to participate in God’s grace—whatever that is. Our response, then, is the decision to cooperate in all of the above.
We need not be held hostage to the conditioned response, the knee-jerk reaction, the patterns or habits of old. We can choose differently. This was the wisdom that Frankl gained. Even in the dehumanizing conditions of a Nazi death camp, where everything else was beyond his control, he retained the ability to choose his response to whatever was done. The gift of free will is ours as well in the lesser challenges of our days. We can and do receive the grace to respond differently, authentically when we pause and remember what we are here for. We are not alone in that moment, that brief, deep moment where God abides.
Try this just once today.
NEXT ZOOM PRESENTATION
Fact & Fiction
what would Snopes say?
Saturday, May 30, 2020
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM PDT
Monday, June 1, 2020
9:30 - 11:30 AM PDT
at the invitation of St. Placid Priory, Lacey, WA
Our last Zoom presentation, May 2nd, on Hildegard of Bingen
was SO MUCH FUN! Great participation, great conversation and, in Hildegard, a really great topic. Thanks to all who joined me!
Only one problem...who can follow an act like Hildegard? Spun my wheels for just a bit before realizing the obvious. Who else but....Mary Magdalene!
Until the last few years no one had even heard of Hildegard, but who hasn't heard of Mary Madgalene? And we have heard a lot. In the second century, Hippolytus of Rome first conferred upon her the exalted title, "Apostle to the Apostles." Four centuries later she was designated the Patron Saint of Prostitutes. Which is she? Fact or fiction, saint or sinner, the object of veneration or vilification? We certainly know of her but do we know her? Here's our chance to at least sort through some of her story. We'll look to scripture, history, apocryphal texts, literature and art to enhance our understanding of her story and of her.
Register for Saturday's Session or learn more, Mary Magdalene
What is Sisters in Scripture?
Sisters in Scripture began as a bible study for women and while it still is that today, the ministry has grown into much more. Bible Studies were followed by workshops and presentations which evolved into a full line of retreat offerings—some as short as a partial day, others over several days, on a rich variety of topics.
with Kathleen is also available via phone/Skype or in person at either of two locations: Lynnwood, WA (occasionally) and Bella Vista, AR (regularly).
Sisters in Scripture offers a variety of studies available for purchase from this site
. Each study seeks to prayerfully engage the scriptures to arrive at meaning for today and in our everyday lives. To do so, we enter the story through the lens of various biblical characters using both biblical scholarship and our own creative imagination.
Each chapter includes Background, Prayer, Reflection Questions, and a Closer Look at the Text. To see the full line of studies, go to the Bible Studies
page or the Purchase Books
page on this site.
Retreats and Presentation
As with the interactive focus in my studies, the retreats are also designed to help participants enter into and experience the theme through a variety of modalities: prayer, silence, presentation, discussion, music, art, poetry, etc.
In addition to leading retreats, for the past four years, I have been co-teaching a course on Spiritual Retreats in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, a sacred task that allows retreat ministry to expand through the future ministries of those I teach.
To View Photos of the latest Retreat, Once Upon a Time in a Town Called Nazareth click on the link.
A comment from Julie Joslund, Pastor of Edmonds Lutheran Church:
Kathleen and Betsey’s Advent Retreat Once Upon a Time in a Town Called Nazareth is fabulous! The story and the inspiration of young Mary becoming the mother of our Lord - with all the incumbent questions, joys and fears - comes to life with the images, colors, words, songs and dances from long ago Nazareth…. right up to today. Participants are involved and included in the retreat experience. It is hands on and fulfilling. Everyone goes away with a full heart, ready to engage the season of Advent and the coming once again of Christ into our days.
A partial list of retreat offerings would include:
- Once Upon a Time in a Town Called Nazareth,
- The Women Who Follow Jesus
- The First Supper
- Witnesses on the Way: an Interactive Stations of the Cross
- Encounters with the Risen Lord
- God’s Gift of Abundant Time
- Grandmother God: Loving as God Loves
- An Evening with Esther, and
- Wisdom from Tobit
A more apt name might be "spiritual companioning.” I often think of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus when doing Spiritual Direction. On life's road, Christ draws alongside, unseen but ever present, though we are often only partially aware. Spiritual Direction is intentional attentiveness to that Presence in the company of an other who walks that same journey. To read more about this gentle disciple, go to the Spiritual Direction
page on this website.