The Lord usually if not often presents us different and better ideas.
This double-edged drama from the Divine stirs my heart and my mind into appreciating the beauty of mystery. Looking back feels bittersweet because I need to deal with present regrets, to ponder the future, and work towards saying goodbye to what was. It was time to “put an end to childish ways” (1 Cor. 13:11).
I was growing up all over again, or what my spiritual director calls (undergoing) a “transformation”.
My intensive studies at Niagara-on-the-Lake years ago opened up my soul to what it was seeking. Or what was seeking it. I was brought closer to a JOY I have not experienced before. The Lord affirmed this call in a special way, with such life and clarity. In silent contemplation to meditations on nature to fellowship in stories & song came that still small voice telling me to stay the course; I am on the “right path” to be with my God. I found like-minded people in my schoolmates, a soul tribe in the making. I didn't know what being happy to be somewhere really felt like until I stepped into this world of dreams and deepened spirituality; I fit so well here. Joy filled my week, and (even) weeks after that. I could have stayed in Ontario for longer; it felt like a home away from home. The sprawling green hills amidst a calm blue lake transported me into a different world. Autumn in Niagara felt like a fine mix of myrrh and maple syrup, yet I was drawn to something more beautiful than this. The visit to the Butterfly Conservatory was icing on the cake ---which were layers of affirmation after affirmation(!) If getting high on God is what this is then I'm in this for the long haul! Soul work is holy work. And a work of gladness. I will fondly remember how this experience has changed my life forever. “I was blind but now I see”, as that timeless hymn says. The joy of the Lord is strong indeed. Memorable and/or unforgettable are understatements.
My (close) friendships also opened me up to (more) peace and forgiveness...only after a encountering a PAIN of a different kind. All it took was a calm courage to tame my restless spirit. Until this struggle I did not really understand what being brave meant until I faced fear in its subtle form. And love defeated fear when I embraced my frailty, and welcomed the brokenness in others. I got reacquainted with kindness in a more profound way; I didn’t need to understand or know too much to give a damn (about someone). In caring for another my heart (muscles) stretched once more, making room for even more grace. In this rude awakening I discovered more about the sacrifice and the pleasure involved in genuine companionship. Despite the many words on this page no suitable adjective can define compassion but that it is all grace. In the end it was simply about acceptance. However, peace did not simply land on my doorstep; it took mental, emotional, and physical skirmishes here and there. I had to confront the conflict within myself, and the conflict with others. This ‘toll’ was worth all its weight in gold, as the saying goes. Here is born a better version of ME, filled with light & shadow, eager to keep growing.
The hope is that I become kinder and more merciful as time goes by.
Life is a wise teacher, and continues to teach me to this day. I thought I had seen & done everything until I found out I knew nothing at all. So, I am learning... (and that it is okay):
I'm sure I am still being schooled; this may just be a shortlist.
I am still having difficulty in certain areas but slow & steady is (still) a move forward. I am a work-in-progress. It would be a sin to not continue. O what a journey it has been already!
My need of my Lord is greater now more than ever. May He bless me indeed, and teach me His ways. This is the only way to be my true self. I will only stop learning when I am six feet under. But I am still alive, and so I will still need, I will still dream, I will still learn.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:13-14
*original post 2016.12.29