St. Peter & I with our Crazy Ideas
“Hey! I got an idea…” That’s me, I’m that kid. I get all wound up about something and ideas start sprouting out of my head. And before I’ve even thought it through the ideas start pouring out of my mouth too. Do you know anyone like that?
My son Shane (17) was telling me about this friend of his that is always saying, “Hey! I got an idea…” I asked Shane if the kid smokes pot. Shane looked a bit startled and then answered in the affirmative, “Yeah, how’d ya know?” Ha. Anyway…
In this morning’s reading I had to stop and laugh, I can really relate to Peter and his reckless enthusiasm:
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”-not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. -Luke 9:28-36 (NRSV)
“Hey! I got an idea…” Peter says. Wow. Can you imagine how Peter must have felt? God himself showed up to tell him to shut up and listen.
I have to wonder how often my “ideas” have kept me from understanding. How often I have been so full of enthusiasm to help someone that I didn’t stop to really hear what they needed from me? “Hey! I got an idea…” When the shit hits the fan and I’ve run out of options and my mind is grasping for something, anything, to get me out of trouble. “Hey! I got an idea…” When I get all caught up in something wonderful, amazing, dazzling, even life changing and my spirit is soaring so high that I just want to keep it soaring forever, “Hey! I got an idea…”
And Peter, what was he thinking? How long afterwards was he kicking himself for his hastily spoken words? And remember, this is Saint Peter we’re talking about here, the first apostle, the keeper of the keys, the great Peter! Oh yeah, and he’s also the guy who denied Jesus three times and the one who cut off the ear of the slave in his haste to come to the defense of Jesus. A pretty flawed guy, wouldn’t you say?
“Hey! I’ve got an idea…” I almost always feel like an idiot after I have spewed out those words, you would think I would have learned better by now. But, I haven’t. Maybe I need to give myself a break, eh? I mean, after all, Peter turned out okay…
“Only gratefulness, in the form of limitless openness for surprise, lays hold of the fullness of life in hope.” -David Steindl-Rast
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer
TODAY’S EXERCISE: up Thistlehill and down