Friday, June 10, 2016

Lessons from a Snail

By Sr. Tracy Kemme

A few weeks ago, I was jogging down the sidewalk when I noticed four adorable children playing in their driveway.  I had talked with them on a walk once before, when they “sold” me popcorn from their lemonade and snacks stand, even though I had no cash on me to pay.  Today, I slowed and waved.

“Hi, girls!  You’re the nice people who gave me popcorn, aren’t you?”

One who was crouching over something intently peered up at me.  “You remember us?”

“Of course!” I assured and crouched down myself. “What’re you up to today?”

“Well,” started the oldest and apparent leader of the little troupe, “we have a snail.”

She pointed, and I saw the little creature in a shoebox lid on the driveway.  The crouching girl was still bending over the snail, and a chubby toddler in a romper and diaper sat staring, too.

“Cool!” I said.  “Do you have a name for the snail?”

“Yep,” declared the ringleader, matter-of-factly with her little hand on her hip.  “God.”

A snail named God.  My whole face burst into an amused smile, and then, retracting my laughter inside, I nodded with serious agreement: “Great name.”

I turned to watch the snail with the little ones, mesmerized, as it has been ages since I’ve taken the time to do so.  We all smiled, perched on our knees, eyebrows raised in delight.  It was amazing to see tiny “God” stretch out her stocky neck and then pull the rest of her body along.  The small movements didn’t look like much, but they were steady.  Before I knew it, “God” was clear across the shoebox lid.  I was genuinely surprised.

“Wow, wasn’t that cool?” I exclaimed.  “We think of snails as very slow, and watching it, it didn’t look like it was doing very much.  But it was moving!”

Later, I chuckled to myself as I considered my comment about the snail named God.  Of course, this encounter had something to teach me about my own relationship with God.  In the day to day, it’s easy to feel like God isn’t doing much.  I get impatient.  But, if I stop and look back, I can see that God has brought me from one corner of the shoebox lid clear across to the other.  God is always at work, moving in our lives in both discreet and pronounced ways, getting us just where we need to be.  If we take a moment to stop and observe, like the girls and I crouched over that little snail, we might be surprised at how far God’s steady, faithful hand has carried us.

It’s a good moment to stop and peer intently at how God has been working in and through this Future of Charity Blog.  In August of 2014, we met as the Future of Charity for the first time.  During the course of the weekend, as we shared our hopes and dreams, the idea for a collaborative blog surfaced.  Three of us agreed to begin work on it.

In October, we found ourselves together on a Google Hangout, connecting from Cincinnati, Louisville, and New Orleans.  Across the miles, we began praying about what God was calling forth.  Many questions had to be answered:  Where will we create the blog?  What will it look like?  What is the mission?  Who will write?  When?  How often?  About what?  How will we post and maintain the blog?  How will we advertise?  Who will read?  And more.

Over the following month, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the collaborative work of many shaped the nebulous idea into something concrete.  By the end of November, the blog existed, we had an idea of how it would work, and almost fifteen Future of Charity sisters were on board to blog!  We launched on November 30, 2014 – the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life.  We Future of Charity sisters hoped that our blog would help to “wake up the world!”

Since then, we have committed to making time to share on this blog what God is speaking in our hearts and lives.  We’ve had wonderful support from the Sisters of Charity Federation.  Now, looking back, we know that God, “the snail,” has been on the move!  In eighteen months, we’ve offered 140 posts.  We have 23 bloggers from different congregations.  And, you all have viewed our blog 41,372 times.  When we spoke out loud that we hoped to start a blog, we didn’t know where it would go.  But God did.

As with the snail, I find myself saying, “Wow!  Wasn’t that cool?!”

You’ll notice a few changes on the blog as we come back from a month of transition.  The beautiful layout is updated to include and echo our brand-new Future of Charity logo, created by Future of Charity sisters.  There is a new blog team to carry on the ministry.  And, we’re changing our posting schedule to once per week on Fridays.

We are grateful to be a part of this collaborative ministry.  We hope it has enriched your journey, and we invite you to continue to walk with us and share our blog with whoever would appreciate it.  In the midst of our lives, it is good to stop, crouch down, and wonder and our God at work and on the move, even when it doesn’t feel like it.  As for the Future of Charity Blog, we know that God brought us here, and we trust that same God is creating the path before us!

1 comment:

  1. Linda Schieltz BirgenheirJune 25, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    Sr. Tracy - Wonderful story about the snail named "God!" Thank you for the reminder of how God is steadily, carefully working in our lives.


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