The guide for week 33 of the Online Retreat in Everyday Time is here.

There was a prayer in the guide this week that I copied down — twice — and that I have been praying all week. My mother-in-law was at my house and she called me to tell me how much she enjoyed praying it when she was in my kitchen and in my bathroom. (Hey, they’re the places when I probably need prayer the most!)

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will – all that I am and possess. You have given all this to me. I now return it all to you. It is yours now. Use these gifts according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me, and all that I desire.

As we near the end of the retreat, I don’t look back and see any fireworks. (Someday, maybe I’ll have a spiritual experience with fireworks. I’m pretty sure, though, that it is God’s infinite wisdom, seeing me WISH for pyrotechnics, but knowing I really, truly, could not deal with them.) But I can look back and see that I’ve come quite a way. It was not a straight road to this point, but how often are our journeys straight? Oh, I can look back and see them as a straight line, but, in retrospect, it is often more like a winding cow path in the pasture than an interstate between two cities.

But it’s in that rambling in the back pasture that I have found what I most needed. I started off with vigor and energy and the focus was on the background, on the experiences that shaped me. The winding path took me from my memories to an examination of Jesus. And I guess it’s never really moved from either of those places…except that, somehow, it has.

Somehow, Jesus has become more personal and more real. God seems accessible in a way he didn’t before, don’t you think? He’s never moved; he’s always been right there, over my shoulder.

I just needed to learn to look and see him there.

And once I could see him, once I recognized the grace of his glance, the love of his embrace, then somehow everything changed. It was a way of seeing and a way of being that changed ME.

That changing doesn’t stop, if I cooperate, because the winding path doesn’t end. I reach milestones and pausing points, but I don’t stop my journey. This retreat may be ending next week, for my second adventure through it, but the “everyday life” part of it continues. Lord, help me continue to find you in the moments of ordinary, in the mundane and the spectacular, in the way you are always holding me.

Image from Chapel on the Hill