Morning dawned bright and early, it was probably more overcast and breezy. I, did however, get up early like 4:30 am early. Sleep for women of a certain age can get sketchy and then there’s the weird dreams wherein I wake up feeling as though the conversations last all night long. When the beep, beep, beep of the coffee maker ended I filled the cup with coffee, and ascended the stairs the studio for prayer, email and shhh don’t tell anyone Candy Crush. A bit later in the morning realizing it’s still Easter, and I have leftover chocolate hanging around, why don’t I use it up and bake, not one but two batches of brownies. As one of my friends have said, who has leftover chocolate? That would be me. First batch for the women’s book study group and one for my spiritual director. Done..
Side note, also ordered my 2022-2023 planner from Blessed is She.
The brownies were hot out of the oven, filling the air of my car with chocolate notes. Oh did it smell good. Notice I said smell, not taste. More on that in a few moments. The book study women enjoyed some of their brownie. The rest was for my Spiritual Director. Note, a spiritual director is essentially a companion on the journey of faith who helps discern a specific moment or helps us grow in the faith life, life, because it’s not all separate.
Going for Spiritual Direction is as much about looking and listening for God’s movement in your life as it is about speaking to that movement. I need to listen to the where I see God moving in my life to pick up on the direction he’s leading. It requires a daily examen where making a point of taking notice of where God is working, what went well, what didn’t go so well. While there is often some spiritual direction in the Sacrament of Confession, Confession isn’t part of spiritual direction. As with any other practice, from cooking and baking, quilting or crocheting, or woodworking or, or, or, or it takes time to develop. Not only the examen but also the listening, often talking to God is the most convenient route, the one we’ve learned to practice. The more difficult one is listening, and this is something I find difficult at best, because while God, Father Son and Holy Spirit never tire of my attempts at conversation I tire of what, to me, seems like nattering on.
One of the things that spiritual direction has brought me to is an ever affirming and deepening sense that there’s more, a lot more and that not all of it is about me, and that the more of all of this is wildly more, relationally more, soul changingly more. In a sense this is a confirmation of something I’ve known deeply and lacked the words to express, as exemplified by the first sentence here. Understanding and comprehension come over time as we actively pursue prayer, spiritual reading, deep thinking, conversation and begin to shift our focus from the words on the page and their first meanings to the deeper and more nuanced meanings. So on the surface I’ve always understood Baptism to remove from our being original sin, that original disruption in the relationship between ourselves and God, and so it does. While reading recently and listening to Scripture and homilies Baptism changes our entire nature we become God the Father’s Children, brothers and sisters of Jesus, and in deep relationship with the Holy Spirit (the love that flows between the Father and the Son.) This second birth, this born againness changes everything about who we are, whose we are giving us access to all that belongs to God, and that is everything. This changes everything. Every thing. It changes the nature of our humanity. It takes time to live in, and realize, and be formed by this change.
Growing up is hard work. No, that’s not quite right, maturing is hard work.
Maturing is messy, and painful, and holy, and full of grace, and achy, and ____________________. We come to maturity, or not, in time. Some sooner than later, some later than sooner, some not at all. Some will believe the Gospels and come to know Jesus in a deep way, accepting their Cross, the suffering that is inherent to life and grow in maturity and closer with God.
Growing as a quilter takes just as much work, and digging into the desire to do the work to get better at what you do. Just this afternoon I draped a quilt across the Handi Quilter Moxie and asked a friend if I can actually load this on the frame. There is enough backing and batting to pin the quilt on the frame. I can see progress in the quilt from the hand quilting on the center medallion changed as I quilted. It’ll be fun to finish this quilt after so long a time. There are others added to the longarm queue.
Often I’ll speak of tidying up the sewing studio. Good grief it is a creative mess in there. Partly because as I work things land on the floor and I don’t pick them up right away. Partly because I get thinking and working and doing and get lost in that space. I get lost in the studio in a way I’d love to get lost in prayer. And perhaps because quilting is my work this is where I’m meant to get lost and in prayer I’m meant to be more focused. And yet right now both seem a little off. And that’s okay for perhaps they are because something different is coming along and I’m good with that.
We have company coming next week so there’s a bit of tidying up going on around the house. Which also makes a mess because cleaning is a process not a one and done thing. Just like preparing for Confession, sometimes we focus on one area of our life, and sometimes we’re all over the place, moving to and fro from room to room because when we go look at something and put it in its proper place and see something in that proper place that we must deal with and work on dealing with that and then move over there to put something else in its proper place and then work to….
While this post feels a bit scattered, as happens in the space between my ears wherein thought processes happen it’s a lot like how we grow in faith and in quilting. Sometimes the path is direct and clear; sometimes the path is all windy and weird and we doubleback and finally end up at our destination with lots of experience that we will fully one day understand how it got us to the destination place. From twenty-four hours early to tidying up the house to quilts needing quilting to the joy of taking the weird and wild path. Oh and examining all of this and finally getting to the realization that some of this is a mystery in need of being enjoyed rather than analyzed.
Also please rejoice with me in a special intention.