Upon awaking today I intended to focus on ‘being present.’ It is challenging for me. I can be adept for a while at a sort of consciousness that acknowledges God in my midst and then find that, little by little, I’ve fallen away. Busy schedules, spiritual laziness, life’s distractions. But few of us really are called to be full-time contemplatives or to spend all our days studying the Word of God.
Still, I have found myself longing for more quiet and alone time again after several months of deadlines, difficulties, and demands that have pulled me from my solitude into ‘the world.’ After a flurry of inner excitement and an obsession almost with exploring my spiritual/blogging world, I found I’d set a pace for myself that I could not maintain…especially when life’s challenges intervene to shake things up a bit.
So, for some time now, I’ve been seeking balance. Some routine that acknowledges my need to connect with God and to focus here in this blogging space on the spiritual lessons and challenges with which my life is blessed, as well as to cope with all the calls – the critical, the social, the trivial – of a normal day of being who I am – wife, mother, friend, worker, helper – well, you know.
A normal day in my life of late most often starts with a ‘good morning’ to God, coffee and contemplation on some commendable text. Today, I’m in the middle of A Year With Thomas Merton. In the meditation I was reading this morning Merton wrote:
I find more and more the power – the dangerous power – of solitude working on me. The easiness of wide error. The power of one’s own inner ambivalence, the pull of inner contradiction. How little I know myself really. How weak and tepid I am. I need to work hard, and I don’t know how – hence I work at the wrong things. I see that the first two months I got off to a nearly false start with too much excited reading of too many things, and my life has been grossly over-stimulated for a solitary (in community, all right). Especially I worked too hard, too obsessively on the book, to frantic a pace for a solitary (again, in community solitude seems crowded and hopped up to me).
The parallels with my recent experience thrilled me. I’m not the only one to struggle with this. Praise God!
Everything has meaning, dire meanings, in solitude. And one can easily lose it all in following the habits one has brought out of common life (the daily round). One has to start over and receive (in meekness) a new awareness of work, time, prayer, oneself. A new tempo – it has to be in one’s very system (and it is not in mine, I see).
And what I do not have I must pray for and wait for.
Prayer and waiting. Yes. Then, I think I would add…
- Patience and faith.
- Preparation and practice.
- Progress and growth.
- Recognition and thanksgiving.
- And, at the last, acceptance of myself as God’s divine creation.