Monday, April 4, 2011

In the Silence....

I know. I know.  It's been awhile since my last post.  But this does NOT mean that I haven't had my share of life in the last few weeks.

And I've been thinking forever, "I need to blog about THAT!"  Now, here it is.  Three weeks later.  But, with some awesome insight.

I had the great opportunity of taking a SILENT retreat this Spring Break at St. Meinrad.  It was nothing huge--just three and a half days of me (attempting) to not turn on my phone or check my email AND not speaking.

What came out of the silence was LOUD AND CLEAR! 

1) The need for discipline in my attitude towards life.  I had no idea how many times a day I'm thinking about the future, worrying about it or fantasizing about it, or thinking about the past (wishing for it back OR regretting it)
2) The desire and call to live a truly authentic life.  One that is in unity with how Jesus lived here on Earth and how the saints continue to show us how it's possible to live today.  I want my thoughts, my words and my actions to all be in unison--with no more war!  I want to truly desire how I know I should act--not just act that way to impress people. (and this has caused probably the largest growing pain of all!)
3) The goodness of Sacred Scripture in my life.  It's amazing, but before I was asked to give a talk recently on this subject, I tried to pretty much avoid any personal reading of the Bible.  I've had a few bad encounters with people who I thought knew the Bible better than I did and it just made me discouraged.  This silent retreat, with my spiritual director's help and all the other books I was reading, hit HARD for me the need to put Scripture into my daily life.  IT is what I want to fill my mind now instead of all the other crap I make up...IT is the truth.
4) A huge, huge need for silence.  I live most of the day in a reactionary stance to whatever is going on in front of me.  Wouldn't it be nice to truly LIVE instead of just REACT? 

My time at St. Meinrad was one of the greatest, FULLEST moments of my young adult life and I realized that although I can't take silent retreats all the time, I CAN practice silence every day.  And my heart longs for it.  Times in the day where I'm quiet--not that situations or quiet, or that I'm even in a quiet place, but that I'm truly at peace in my heart, head, and showing it in my actions.

Now, this hasn't made life easier by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I've cried every day since Wednesday wanting/desiring to live this life of holiness that I'm not yet at.  I want to love my friends freely, I want to not worry about the future, I want to trust in God's unconditional love and mercy for me...but I have a lot of thoughts/habits that have been building up for YEARS that don't come crashing down in a week.

And so, I'm experiencing the pain (suffering) of detaching from myself, my plans, my ideas and truly living the present--no matter how ugly the present may seem to me or how scary!  And I'm asking for God to make this suffering joy-filled...whatever THAT means.  But the saints did it, so it must be possible for me, too.

It's analogous to me of running a race--you can't sprint a marathon right when you've just decided to get your butt off the couch.  The training process is painful, but little by little, you begin making progress.  For me, the progress this morning was looking at my students with love DESPITE the fact that they keep making some of the laziest mistakes on their work I've ever seen.  But, I was patient, calm and it was fresh in my head that they are only ten year-olds.

There might be a lot of uncertainty in my life over what God is asking me to do practically in the future but one thing is for certain--He is here with me.  And in the words of St. Peter, "Lord to who else would we go?  You have the words of eternal life."