Today’s post comes from Jen Murphy, Manager of Retreats & Events here at the Center. Jen is so grateful to be able to work with really amazing retreat presenters, many of whom she can now call friends. Let’s read about a lesson gained from a gift that she received from one of these special friends.
One of our cherished retreat spiritual directors, Sr. Ann Belmonte, recently gave me a wonderful book called “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo. I’ve already been inspired and calmed by some of the daily reflections within and today’s reading didn’t disappoint. It spoke about someone who was traveling around Europe and instead of following her detailed plans for the journey, she detoured from one point to the next, tossing logic aside for new destinations. I was blessed to be able to study abroad for my sophomore year of college (ahem, a very long time ago), so this reflection immediately drew me in. I have many memories of plans that were changed at the last minute, only to lead me to an experience that far surpassed my original expectations. Although it was sometimes startling to encounter these detours, it always worked out well and my young sense of adventure prevailed. The reflection I now read says, “…though she often wasn’t sure where she was, she never felt lost. It was when she needed to arrive at a certain station at a certain time that she felt she was off course, astray, and at the fringe of where she was supposed to be”. Exactly! When there was an appointment for a departure instead of simply taking the next train with my backpacking friends, our carefree travel attitudes were dampened.
Does this analogy resonate with you? It’s easy to get stuck within the hustle and bustle of our schedules and go through the motions without being mindful of the true goal. We’re often missing out on so much around us. This reminded me that God can also be whispering to me along the way, but my “scheduled destination” may be muffling his directions. If we can slow down (yes, even schedule time to slow down), then we can be more mindful of the direction we’re taking. We can indeed listen to that still, small voice within. As Nepo also reminded me in this reflection, this is when “the real journey begins”. Let’s pray for this time of purpose today.
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you…” (James 4:8)
I Want To Be Available
Holy and perfect God,
you know I want to be available.
Help that desire sink deeply enough into my being
for me to actually change
and to say “no” to a least one worthy, but not urgent, task today.
Give me the ability to be open to the life I am leading;
not the one I am planning to lead.