At the college where I work we’ve just moved into week number 3 of the semester. I hear it and see it the students and the faculty and staff; it takes many different forms of words and phrases as well as many different expressions, but all it clearly says, “Reality is setting in!” This is actually a semester, there is reading to read, papers to write, groups to meet with, work to do and suddenly we are overwhelmed and running on empty.
I heard a student the other day talking about classes and reading like it was persecution of the students, an evil to be conquered, and the “cross that students have to bear.” Though I certainly understand the emotional drain conveyed in such statements, I do wonder, is that the real reality with it all.
Perhaps our perceptions of the way things are can be a little like Reality TV, which is often far from reality. What if college, with its opportunities for community, classes, reading, learning, and even its lectures and required elements is the stuff God uses to mold and shape our lives? What if all of it leads us from here to somewhere else in our understandings, in our journeys, in our relationships, and in our sense of calling and vocation? What if we’ve been blessed with a great opportunity that will change us forever?
I think to keep a sense the opportunity and the big picture each day we will find we need to be grounded. This is not just true for this time of life, but for all the times and transitions of life. It is recorded in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, verse 35 that “In the morning, while is was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” This seems to have been Jesus’ practice. Perhaps Jesus got up early because the day was filled with lots of classes with those disciples and healings with those who needed healing, not to mention the naysayers and those who would question, doubt and seek to kill him. Jesus’s reality of all life’s opportunities led him to prayer. Time with his Father in heaven is what grounded him and kept him on focus.
You might argue that early morning is not your best time; that’s fine, but might I suggest that a daily time with God in prayer might be our greatest need to keep in touch with our real reality and the opportunities and blessings that we are given each day.