The first week is about the beginning – the background, the memories, the experiences – that shape us. We’re going through the “photo album” of our life.
But as I listened, knowing that I’ve been burning for some time to write more of my memories down, I was struck by this: “Do not expect, look for or demand progress. Enjoy and live the process, even though as with physical exercise, you may not like doing them every day. … We allow God to give the increase, the insights, the progress. We begin expecting God to be busy laboring on our part of creation which we have found quite unfinished as a work of art.”
I do start, so often, with vigor and energy – just knowing that I’m on the right path, heading the right direction. I go gung-ho, head-first, all out.
And then it becomes evident that I’m not in a sprint. I get the picture ever-so-slowly that we’re gonna be here a while. I start to see – or to pay attention to what I should have seen all along – that this is more than I was expecting.
All of a sudden, it’s not fun anymore. The allure wears off, but the practice has to stay. The discipline must continue. It isn’t easy in the new and fun shiny way it was at the beginning.
I want results NOW, whether I’m going to confession or working out. I can’t blame it completely on a lack of patience and a tendency toward laziness – maybe it’s that battle with pride I continue to fight.
God cares. I know that. But he moves at a different pace and with a different end in mind.
The reminder right off the bat not to expect, look for, or demand progress is just what I need. Those are words written to me, about a journey that will lead me closer to God.
I have some hesitation going too deep in some of my memories. What are the scars I’ve not given God, the pain I’ve buried, the hurt I’ve forgotten?
God was with me through it all. The things I’ve wanted to write about are not so much the things I think I’m called to examine with this week’s reflections. The photo album of my life, if it’s honest, contains a lot more than the slice I’ve chosen to think about lately (though it hasn’t gone away, so maybe less of a conscious choice).
This week I also have to consider the things I chose to do, the sins forgiven, but the scars that still may be there. I gloss over some years of my life, but how is that girl – lost and seeking as I know now she was – a part of me now? Where was God?
And how does God continue to heal me?
Healing…that has been a recurring theme for me in recent months, and perhaps in recent years. The part of the Mass that has always resonated with me, over and over, is when we kneel at the Consecration and pray, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
Healing from the scars of sin…healing from the burden of guilt…healing from the fears that assail me in the dark night.
It takes time, that balm so hard to find in the midst of my impatience.
A 34-week retreat in everyday life might be just the thing!
Where do the reflections in this week’s guide lead you?