In the last entry, I spent time going back to the original intentions and reviewing where things are in over a year of practice. Those intentions were actually articulated in two different posts, so it may be helpful to review the second in an effort to make sure that we’re checking the course and learning what we can.
Letting the land lie fallow (stepping away from direct fundraising). This has been a great respite and a challenge. On one hand, fundraising is not the “fun” part in the world of campus ministry. It takes an emotional toll over time, and the worry can be exhausting. To unplug from that is always a restful break. However, not to be overwhelmed by fear when you aren’t actively fundraising or checking the accounts is the challenge. What has helped? My team! They carry a lot of the load so I can trust the process.
Provision for the poor. It’s not a shocking observation or experience, but this has been good for my soul. I think it’s easy to grow a little hard and calloused over time. Having a regular rhythm of breaking into some unquestioned generosity does something to me that is healthy. I grow in compassion. I meet good people whom I have been avoiding. I break away from attachments to my money. Just having a regular “generosity fund” for this time period has been a simple, but deep, practice.
No idolatry. This shows up in the most unexpected places, but I suppose that is how idolatry gets its claws in us, right? If idolatry was a blatant, loud, obnoxious decision, we probably wouldn’t struggle with it the way that we do. But we find ways to slowly embrace it, justify it, tuck it neatly into regular comings and goings. I know I continue to find idolatry showing up in my practice, including a handful of times in the last month.
Canceling debts and forgiving sins. I’m surprised at how closely this feels “bound up” with the practice of generosity mentioned a couple of paragraphs above. The more generosity I practice, the more aware I become of the grudges that I hold. The more proactively compassionate I am with others, the more I want to forgive as a reaction. Again, this beautiful catch-22 is a wonderful thing doing a transformative work in my heart.
Reading Torah. As I mentioned before, my original plans for this had to go by the wayside, but I have thoroughly enjoyed working with my son this year as he prepares for his bar mitzvah. We’ve spent great time in the Text and in study together. Those are special times.