Today’s find: Tom Petty, Prophet

The Holy Spirit has been quiet today. Too quiet.

Since the beginning of Lent, I’ve noticed that each day’s topic of ‘found spirituality’ has turned up pretty early on—usually in the pre-dawn hours, and never later than the beginning of my work day.

The pattern was broken today, though. Lunchtime came, and a slight feeling of panic set in. “I got NOTHIN’!” I realized, as my ego (all too easily bruised by perceived failures) started setting off a few alarms.

Didn’t like the sensation, of course. It felt a little like abandonment: “C’mon, God – gimme what I need! And here, by the way, is the schedule that would be most convenient for me.”

And as I was turning up the volume on that refrain, all of a sudden, another familiar lyric popped into my consciousness.

If you listened to rock in the ‘70s and ‘80s, you probably know where I’m going with this: Tom Petty, the Heartbreaker…today had become for me Tom Petty, the Prophet. Sing along with me now…

“The waaaiiiting … is the hardest part…”
Given the way my musical memory works, it was just a short jump from there to recognize that Petty could be counted on for more than one spiritual insight. Feeling lost and alone…abandoned by God?

“Well you don’t…have…to live like a refugeeee…”

At which point, the Holy Spirit gave me a dope-slap, and said, “John…we were just talking about the virtue of patience here. Can we re-focus a bit?”

I had a sneaking suspicion about where my memory was about to be led next – to one of my favorite reflections, penned by one of my favorite spiritual writers, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin S.J. It’s called Patient Trust. Its “money line” goes like this:

Only God could say what this new spirit
     gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
     that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
     in suspense and incomplete.

Wonderful words to contemplate. And—as I have discovered yet again today—words that are very difficult to live. The waiting often is the hardest part.

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2 comments on “Today’s find: Tom Petty, Prophet

  1. Jack Lindenschmidt says:

    You Got Lucky while you’re Runnin’ Down A Dream. Sometimes you just have to tell the devil Don’t Do Me Like That and Don’t Come Around Here No More! Time to jump out Into The Great Wide Open and go Free Fallin’. I Won’t Back Down if you won’t!

  2. johnr@borromeoparish.com says:

    i am sure you now realize the holy spirit had a lot of work to do in the vatican and praying the spirit will now make francis even stronger as pope ala romero

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