Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Three New Things

Chicago Botanic Gardens

Sometimes the demarcations of life are anticipated ~ with enthusiasm, dread, indifference, or a combination thereof ~ but expected and anticipated nonetheless. Graduations. The first day at a new school or job. The birth of a child.

Sometimes they are visible only in hindsight. Terrible ruptures that break life into pre and post. Accidents that main or kill. Failures of nerve or integrity. Pearl Harbors and Nine-Elevens. Or . . . unexpected and to all appearances mundane encounters that lead to new creations, new unities, combining the paradoxical and fusing the disparate.

I'm not sure where this one began, but I'm going to put it into the category of unexpected new creations and count the next chapter from today, the Feast of St. Ignatius, and tomorrow, the first day of the month with Three New Things. Today looks pretty mundane from where I sit. My list has 18 things on it (not counting blogging!) : one important letter to write, but mostly things like laundry and vacuuming.

Tomorrow I'm off to the Loyola Retreat Center in Guelph, Ontario for an eight-day silent retreat. I've never been to Guelph. I don't have the foggiest idea who my director will be. I have two goals for the retreat, one having to do with where I find myself right now, and the other being to remain open to the unexpected. A week from now I will still be there in a geographical sense, but who knows where I will be otherwise?

In another couple of weeks, I will begin a two-year training program in spiritual direction, Ignatian style, which will bring me home for a class every couple of weeks. Another retreat, but that one full of conversation and new classmates getting to know one another. New people and new expectations, but both rooted in the spirituality of the man who died on this date 411 years ago.

And then a week later, off to seminary, in response to a call to which I finally responded with a clear sense of commitment and intention and joy and apprehension, all merging in a time of prayer in Paris last summer where the questions and tensions of the Reformation seemed utterly alive to me as I walked the streets where Ignatius and Calvin had walked at the same time (although, no doubt, never together!) Some days, the joy takes over. Some days, the fears. I suppose it was the same for them.

Well.

The laundry. And then, Three New Things.







15 comments:

mompriest said...

have a wonderful retreat. wow. and yes, change is in the air. who knows what form it will take, but it's there...the journey of life.

Lisa :-] said...

I am struck by the amount of contemplation, thought, prayer, consideration you have put into taking this new step in your life. In contrast to someone else I know--who closed her eyes, held her nose and jumped; knowing too much consideration would surely stop her in her tracks. I admire your ability to outlast your own arguments... :)

Stacy said...

Sounds like major changes and a big step into the unknown! How very unnerving but exciting. I'm looking forward to the blog entries that result from this.

RevDrKate said...

Journey on...all will be well. Exciting times. Prayers for all these wonderful beginnings that are really continuings.

Quotidian Grace said...

This is so exciting. I'm following your journey with interest and prayers! May your retreat be all you hope for...and more.

Cynthia said...

Such an exciting and scary time. I hope the retreat is wonderful.

LawAndGospel said...

I pray that your retreat brings what you hope for, and also that you will be open to what God hopes for in you. Excitement and fear is how I feel in alternating patterns myself. Greek starts in two weeks. I look forward to comparing notes on our journeys. Godspeed!

Katherine E. said...

May you feel carried into the future, Gannet Girl...you certainly leave on the wings of our prayers!

Diane said...

yes, have a wonderful retreat. you will be great in seminary, will love it.

Lisa said...

What a journey has brought you to this moment and it is only the begining of what will be wonder-filled and unexpected and enlightening. Your openness to new things is such a trait to be admired.

Jan said...

Gannet Girl, may God bless you in your silent time together on your retreat. What a preparation for the time ahead! It is a blessing to be a little part of this as you share. Thank you.

Kris said...

My dear friend,
It is the journey, not the destination that makes life just what it is.. life. I have often admired you, and taken courage from you in my own journey. You DO things. I have just started to DO .. and that amazes me all the more what you have done.
What I know today, more than I have ever known before the peace of life. Even when life is not so peaceful. That peace is what I recieve each day I give over to God. His will, not mine be done. You helped me on that part of my journey. So, may the Peace of the Lord be with you. On your retreat, and all days!

Gannet Girl said...

Thank you all so much for your prayers and good wishes. I'm excited to be off this morning and wondering what tonight will bring.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Sorry to be late.
Blessings on your retreat and may you enter seminary cleansed as you prepared your laundry before the three new things, and accompanied by the holy three of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Ruby said...

Sorry to be latest of all. I have been thinking of you during this retreat week. I look forward to reading your reflections on this time away.