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.
The laundry. And then, Three New Things.