My daily prayer time was much later than normal because I forgot until I went to settle into my evening Examen. I was flooded with emotion part way through the later and thought I would perhaps turn to my blog to share my thoughts. The daily reading is from Luke 24, that wonderful story of the two grieving disciples walking to the village called Emmaus, about 11 kilometres from Jerusalem. Jesus joined them but they did not recognize him. What fun he must have had listening to them tell this stranger about the prophet who was mighty in deed and word who had been condemned to death, crucified and now seemingly alive again according to some women.
Jesus says to them, Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! He goes on to interpret all the things said about himself in the Scriptures until they arrive in the village. They beg him to remain with them and in the breaking of the bread their eyes are opened and they knew exactly who it is it is before them, but he vanishes. Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road? is what the disciples ask themselves.
I admit to being foolish and slow of heart some days. These two disciples were mourning the loss of someone very important to them. Grief does odd things to your thoughts and your emotions. At the close of a meeting for spiritual directors today during the round of evaluation and appropriation, the leader asked what we are we leaving in the tomb? I was the second person to answer the question. I evaluated the meeting positively and then wondered what my response to the question would be. I was not prepared for my own answer. I think I said something to the effect of I am leaving this in the tomb. This may be the last time that I direct. I had been avoiding thinking about that reality but it came tumbling out of me today without warning.
As I replayed the moment during my Examen , I dug a little deeper. In so many ways, directing the 19th Annotation has kept me sane these past two years. It has made me feel useful and given me a purpose beyond my illness. The people I have directed have revealed to me how great God’s grace and mercy are. By extension their journey has been my path too – a drawing closer to the Holy Trinity. This year at these directors’ meetings I have purposely tried not to talk as much as I did last year about my health and still this community of spiritual directors has been such a blessing to me. I do not know what I would have done without them. Their prayers and support have carried me through some rough patches.
Tonight I realize that my tears were really another stripping away of a title and identity. I have loved being a spiritual director. I believe that I had gifts that God had given me for this ministry. I enjoyed accompanying people as they drew nearer to the God who created them and loves them. It is such holy ground to stand as a sacred witness to someone’s unfolding Love story. I never tired of seeing the wonders and miracles that God did in someone’s life. I completely comprehend how those two disciples felt walking on that road. I am open to a resurrection miracle that will allow me to return actively to this ministry but at this point my feelings are a conflicted mix of great sadness, profound gratitude, humble reality, and much hope.
Of course, I realize my attachment once again to things of this world. I will reach a place of indifference more quickly this time because of that. Each letting go for me gets easier. I learn to see my role first and foremost as the beloved daughter of God. My heart still burns within me when I recognize that is enough. My life becomes more and more a resting in the hands of God, my Creator. As the Principle and Foundation states my life simply becomes a time to praise, honour and serve God. This is what I have been created for and the stripping away of everything else will help me to do these tasks as God alone desires. I know that God will provide different ways for me to serve, right up to my last breath, even if it means only breathing.
So I walk that road – the 11 kilometres – with Jesus beside me, attempting to clarify what it is I still need to know so that I may indeed praise, honour and serve. I know that there will be more foolish moments and times when my heart is slow to grasp the reality before me. I am getting used to those experiences. They are always followed by my heart burning within me because I know that the Divine has shown up once again to walk with me and show me the way. For that, I am ever grateful.
What is that in your life that you are attached to that would be hard to let go of because you are servIng God when you do it?
When have you experienced an 11-kilometre walk with Jesus where he revealed something you had not understood before?
Walk with me, Holy Hidden One, until I recognize you. Explain to me again and again until I finally comprehend and my heart burns within me. Strip me of all my claims to fame, except that of being your beloved daughter. May I rest quietly in your hands as you direct me how to love, honour and serve you. Amen.