“I’m coming, Lord.”
I love the images these words evoke and all of their implications.
St. Alphonsus’s words sum up what this site is about…at least, what I want it to be about.
I was reintroduced to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez by Father James Martin, S.J. in his book, The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything. Fr. Martin describes him this way:
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (1532-1617) was a Jesuit brother who for forty-six years served at the Jesuit college in Majorca, Spain, in the humble job of a porter, or doorkeeper…
St. Alphonsus was devoted to finding God in the present moment. “Lord, let me know you. And let me know myself,” he would pray. Each time the bell rang he looked to the door and envisioned that it was God himself who was standing outside seeking entrance. On his way, he would say, “I’m coming, Lord!”
Welcome to Walking With My Brother.
This is a place where I want to reflect on and experience God’s presence continually as I go about my day…while I’m writing, certainly, but as well, in all my menial daily chores, in my professional work, and in the people and natural world all around me.
I want to find God in every person who makes his/her way to this place or to any part of my world. I’m still working on this quality of … what?… openness? joy? graciousness? compassion? It feels like it may be a life-long project because I fail far too often. Still, that, too, is what this site is about.
Walking With My Brother is part of my journey. So along the way, I’ll tell you a bit about how I got here (in My Story); share with you some of whom I have been (in my Poems Before My Angel), who I am (in My Prayers); what I’m reading (in Reading and Reviews); and what I’d like to become through God’s grace (on my Front Page). [My little editor angel, who is perpetually sitting, looking over my shoulder as I write says, “so, is it all about you?…really?!”].
Well, no…as much as I like to talk about myself, who I am is really not the point. How I got here…the fact that I got here at all is more the point of this.
This place is an expression…my expression…of hope. No matter how failed or disbelieving or sinful or damaged or unloved or unappreciated we may believe we are, there’s hope. God is here, now, ready to love…already loving us. He has loved me throughout my life, even while I was ignoring him. He is there for you, too. He’s there for all of us.
So, this place is where I can give witness to how He has worked in my life (and He, along with my angels and my mother’s prayers, pulled double duty with me for much too long) and how He continues to bless me. I hope my story brings you hope and that on your own journey, you might be blessed in some way by having spent time here.
This is a place where I especially want to learn to know Jesus better and to develop a more personal relationship with Him. My communications, my praying, up until now has been with God. I don’t feel I really understand how to have a relationship with Jesus. I know intellectually that He is both God and God’s Son…Okay…so far, so good.
But wait…let’s back up. So, what is it like to walk with any brother, much less Jesus, Son of Man? I never had a brother growing up and I don’t have a ready way to imagine what that might be like. Good friends come close…maybe?
What’s a brother? A friend, a confidant, a protector, maybe? Someone you can go to throughout life with both your joys and sorrows; someone who challenges you to be more, be better;… someone who loves you no matter what? But what else?
What about learning what you mean to him? Understanding how you can serve him? Learning what he cares about; who he is? What about the back and forth of a relationship? When you both just get irritated with each other? How does that work with Jesus?
Well, this is something of a start…In Walking With My Brother, I want to develop a fuller, deeper understanding of what I mean by those words as they relate to my own walk with Jesus. But too, I know that, at least in some part, they mean understanding better how to live and walk with all those people…brothers and sisters…whose paths cross or coincide with mine for a while as I journey through life.
My qualifications? I have very few. I write a lot and I’ve been through some stuff. But I’ve always thought a writer is only as good as what he/she has to say.
I guess I think I have something to say now. Or more accurately, I think I have something that God wants me to say. [Editor Angel: That’s good; keep getting your ego out of the way; this isn’t about you, remember?]
After a flawed, but blessed life, I have finally begun just recently to feel as though I have a glimmer (however, dim and still undefined) of what God wants of me. I know He loves me, personally, and wants to be part of my life…all our lives. As amazing as that knowledge is, I’ve always wondered (hoped?) there might be something more that He would ask of me. A deeper way I might serve Him.
In just the last few weeks, I’ve come to believe that He wants to use me in this way, in this place, for His own purpose. I have no idea how or what any of this means…what His purpose is…nor do I have any expectations of what this place may become. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to continually step aside and get my ego and my pride out of the way so His purpose can be better served. But beyond that, I’m just lifting it up.
My hope is that just this small bit of knowledge about my story may encourage others to realize God is there for them, too. He doesn’t offer His love just to some exclusive private club of folks, but to anyone who believes in Him…even if we don’t know exactly who He is or what we believe…even if we are unworthy…He’s there, right where each of us is, ready to show us the way…His Way for each of us…a personal itinerary, as it were, for every willing heart.
Mine has been a very willful heart, and, at times, a skeptical and hardened heart. But I have always yearned … I didn’t know quite what I yearned for for many years…just for something more, something better, something meaningful. And finally, I feel as though, 65 years into life, that I’ve got a clue. Maybe this all falls into the ‘it’s never too late’ category of life lessons.
It’s an odd feeling for me that I don’t quite understand. Where did this emotion and direction and motivation, this constant thirst, come from? (Well, I know it came from God in direct answer to a recent prayer of mine for His guidance…and yet how unlike me to finally ‘get it’…in so many ways…thank You, Lord). Still, I feel absolutely certain and clear-headed that this blog, this communication, this prayer, is exactly what He intends for me right now.
This certainty is born out of the overwhelming joy I’ve felt recently. I have such a clear sense of His love and purpose for me that it’s been hard to do anything else. This fire was lit by my recent reading of the Jesuit Guide I mentioned earlier. I know this may seem like a bit of a commercial for it, but it isn’t…or at least, it is unsolicited. And perhaps Fr. Martin’s words fell on well-tilled soil — in just the few months preceding reading his book, we’d lost our baby granddaughter who lived just three hours; we were given a new Pope; our local parish priest passed away unexpectedly; and I’ve been giving much thought to what comes in the next phase of life…the one after a 40-year career, when it seems time to take a new look at what God intends for me.
Whatever the impetus, what a difference Fr. Martin’s writing (God’s gift) has made in my life in just a few short weeks! I can barely take time to shower or tend to my other daily responsibilities, as they take me away from His work. This writing and reading and learning would have seemed self-indulgent just a short time ago. Now, it seems part of a larger purpose and it’s become like a compulsion or an obsession…I don’t know the difference really…maybe both! I want to immerse myself, learn everything I can, all at once, about this Heaven-sent blessing of …of what…a vocation, a calling, as the religious might say.
So here I am, dear reader, unadorned, but adored by God, which I’m learning is all I need, all any of us needs…period, full-stop! [Editor Angel: Soon, I hope…when you understand more, you will probably be able to say it in fewer words!]
Given my ignorance, which is almost as abundant as God’s love for me, this learning and study feel a bit like drinking from a fire hose. I’m running to catch up right now, so if I stumble, as I surely will, offer me a hand of support or some words of direction, and pray God that I am as gracious and grateful for your assistance, as God is abundant in His grace and patience with all of us.
It is my prayer that God has drawn you to this place and that you will find it a blessing along your own journey with Him. It would certainly be a blessing for me, if you were to let me know you’re out there. But, as much as I will give thanks to God for leading you to me, to this place, I really have no other choice but to do this divine work.
I must be about my way now….”I’m coming, Lord.”
 The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, James Martin, S.J., Harper Collins, 2010. A book that I can’t even begin to recommend highly enough … we’ll talk much more about it as time goes by.