In taking a walk this afternoon, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the springing forth of nature. I saw eight turtles sunning on the bank of the lake. I observed two Canadian Geese nesting, preparing for the little ones to come. The red buds are in full bloom; the dogwoods are beginning to come out. The beginning of leaves are forming at the end of tree branches. So exciting and encouraging. God is renewing the Earth with spring growth!
Spiritual direction is also a springboard to new life. Having the accountability of talking to a spiritual director each month has increased my self-awareness. She is able to gently point things out areas in me that I am blind to. This has been stretching and good, sometimes painful.
Looking at my personal and spiritual growth over the past year, I see similar excitement in viewing the new growth from spring flowers and budding bushes. In the fog of the novitiate, I have wondered “Why am I going through this? Will this ever make sense?”
As I see maturity developing, I am encouraged. I’m growing in knowledge on how to relate to people, how to be thoughtful of others, how to be less selfish. I am excited about growing in my ability to build community. To be able to communicate my ideas, contribute my talents to my community being built with a greater noble purpose. Religious life is too grow together with others (lay and consecrated) in so many ways.
While walking, I saw a mother push her one year old baby in a carriage. I think how much her life has changed because of the birth of her baby. She can’t do what she wants. She has to get up at night and feed her child. She has to change, bathe, rock to sleep her infant. She does this out of love. God has put that maternal instinct in mothers/fathers. She is glad to do it for the joy of raising a child. In becoming a Sister, knowing God is forming me into a mature, loving, less judgmental person has been hard work. But knowing I will be a better person, friend, sister, confident encourages me to persevere.
My spiritual director encourages me to feel my feelings. In feeling my feelings, I’ve learn not to shut down my pain because it will come up somewhere else. I give myself permission to feel my pain and with time, move on. When you are driving on ice and start to skid, you turn the steering wheel toward the direction of the skid to recover. If, out of fear, one turns away from the skid, you spin out of control and land in the ditch. So too with our emotions. As I turn to my feelings and feel them, I recover, but if I avoid them, I spin out of control.
One day, driving back from Evansville, Indiana, I stopped for a prayer break at St. Meinrad's. While in the chapel, I looked out a window and saw a tall, stately pine tree. I realized that this was once a seed that cooperated with the sun, water and earth around it. It grew to become a huge, lovely creation. It did nothing on it’s own. As I cooperate with the graces around me and relax, God makes me into who I am to be. Let go and Let God.
As I care for myself through spiritual direction, I am a better servant to those around me. As we take care of the earth through what we buy and products we use, we develop integrity and pride in our community. We have something to pass onto our children/nieces/nephews and grandnieces and nephews, not only in clean air but also with clean hearts of great faith. Celebrate new life!