Wednesday, July 26, 2017

when I have not been listening deeply enough

“Jesus himself, in the midst of his busy public life, would withdraw from his disciples and retire to the mountain to pray. We must follow his example if we wish to preserve and strengthen our faith, to keep constantly before our minds the fact that our whole life is from God and a going to God, to be ever mindful of his will in all that we do.”
 ~Walter J.Ciszek, S.J.
+     +     +

In musical terms, a "rest" is an interval of silence in a piece of music that usually highlights the notes, the moment in time, that comes before, or after it. A rest is marked by a symbol that gives it a particular note value, indicating the length of the pause.

What I realized yesterday as I sat on the edge of the ocean listening to the vastness before me, is that I'm in a long rest, a four-measure rest--a silence four-times the duration of a whole rest.

+     +     +
May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness. May he preserve you whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body, irreproachable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23 
(and the reading for Thursday’s Liturgy of the Hours Night Prayer)

+     +     +

Much like the things or places that I can return to over and over that always feed me (read ocean and beach, any ocean and beach) -- there are also specific lessons in my life that I seem to return to over and over again.

Unlike the things that feed me, however, these lessons are often hard to admit.

Sometimes I feel like I should have learned it by now, whatever the specific “it” is.

Sometimes, often times, I beat myself up because I haven’t learned it by now, whatever the specific “it” is.

And sometimes, pretty much always, I eventually realize, and then eventually acknowledge, that instead of letting God lead the charge, I have been the one trying to fix “it”, whatever the specific “it” is.

When I look over my own journal – or blog – I have to laugh out loud at how often I repeat myself. Not just the lessons that come back again and again, but how often I repeat my apparent surprise at what I hear, or what I notice, or what God is patiently telling me, again and again.


Here’s my latest example. In recent weeks, I heard from both a confessor (a priest I had just met) AND from my osteopathic back doctor (a woman I’ve been going to for a holistic approach to my body) --pretty much the same essential message: wait, rest, allow yourself time to heal and to hear.

From the doctor’s perspective… don’t get over-eager and over-do-it, especially, as you begin to recover and feel better.

And from the priest’s perspective… don’t jump in immediately to do many things as you acknowledge that enthusiasm of the presence of God. Give yourself time to hear!

I should probably point out that what preceded both of these was a period of NOT feeling well – and by that I mean being brought to a stop by physical pain; and paralleled by a period lacking in spiritual renewal and insight, which led me to confess complacency in my walk with Jesus.

Let me phrase it another way.

My body does not lie. When it hurts, when it needs my attention, when it demands that I stop, that I just stop all the “doing”… it is (in the words of a wise friend) making it clear to me that I have not been listening deeply enough.

This is Truth both to my body, and to my spirit.