At this time forty-nine years ago, I had been immersed into a deep, isolated loneliness for almost 7 months. By age 13, I had been introduced by cancer to what it could feel like to be at death’s doorstep.
But it was at that time, after the toxic cancer treatment took me from 115 down to 75 pounds, that I experienced a powerful awakening to the reality of God’s Presence. While just resting and “being” in our backyard, as I felt the cool, soft grass against my back, something inside me woke up. I began to realize that God was surrounding me in love. And I noticed in each detail, that I was a part of some beautiful symphony we call nature and the mystery of the universe.
I became a follower of wonder. Instead of feeling just lonely and isolated, I began to realize, perhaps what has become a life-saving and life-giving discovery.
God is Present in each moment. How can I be more present to God?
I became more aware that I was on a long, spiritual journey. And the compass I began using was not so much one that was calling out to God for help. Suddenly, with this conversion in the wonder of God’s creation, I felt a deep trust. With a heart-felt knowing that God is already helping, I began a new way of tracking a trail and looking for healing and wholeness.
Instead of just desperately crying out “God! Help!” I began to realize that the more helpful prayer-question for discovering wholeness within and all around me was, “God, help me to see how and where you are already helping and guiding.”
I began to learn that the darkest times of fear and isolation can become an invitation for deeper soul-searching. And solitude can become a powerful time of healing and wholeness.
This is an unusually difficult, “liminal time” in our world’s history. The journey through this will not be easy. And it will be a long trek. We will need to do a lot of soul-searching and soul-care in the moments along the way.
So hear this open invitation: You and your soul are invited to join me and others on this journey for “Practicing Prayerful Presence,” any or every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:30 at this link in Zoom room 2.
To prepare your compass to help you notice the difference between isolation and solitude, check out this fantastic podcast with dear friends Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer. (And if you’re interested, ask me to tell you one delightful story of how God was working with our church in 2006.)
Grace and peace my friends,
Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation