Fallow & Struggle

What an incredible joy it is for Twenty twenty-three to begin on Sunday. New week, new year. I have a new planner coming soon that will in some sense continue Cultivate and begin the year with Tenacity. Well done me for tying these two words together.

Since beginning this post the new planner arrived, to my surprise and delight “cultivate” is defined on one of the pages. I realized in that moment that I’m not quite done with this 2022 #woty. Or more clearly this word is not quite done with me. Cultivate is, as my friend described an overarching word that woos one to preparation, growth, tending, sowing, nurturing.

I’m just old enough to have learned to read with Dick and Jane. Do you remember the first word? LOOK! I can almost see it now, all caps, exclamation point, and some imagery of Dick, Jane and their dog Spot. Over the last eighteen months in Spiritual Direction I’ve learned to LOOK for where God is working, moving, speaking, whispering in my life, and as a result in the last six months I’m working through a 30 week retreat with the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. I’ve already learned this will take more than the 30 weeks as evidenced by the introduction taking several weeks. In between weeks 9 and 10 there is a reflection on Experiences of Boredom or Dryness in prayer that asked for some reflection, that I was happy to give some time and let soak in. In between weeks 11 and 12 there are reminders.

Over the last month or so it’s been particularly difficult to go to the gym, I let a couple of days go for various reasons (gym closed, something going on at home) and telling myself how terrible I am is normally the order of the day, week. Oh if you can’t go on this day there’s no point in ever going again. Except in this case my membership is paid through next December so I’m committed, what I’m really committed to is two-fold, better physical health and consistency in the struggle, knowing that the struggle is the place to be.

This morning as I pray and write I’m experiencing scatter-brain, my thoughts are all over the place and it is at once delightful and deeply annoying. Delightful because there are things I desire to share, and annoying because they are all taking turns at the front of my thoughts saying pick me next and by the time I get to them they’ve run off to play with other thoughts. In light of this scatteredness I share the following:

Abiding Together Podcast is back! I listened to this first episode and had I not been on the elliptical I would have had tears spilling down my face. At one moment Michelle mentions a fallow time and my brain is screaming yes! yes! yes! Fallow is the word that came to me at the end of 2022, not as a word of the year, no not that, more as a reflection of the previous two years personally and professionally. And I highly recommend Made for Freedom.

Catechism in a Year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. This intrigued me deeply and so I’ve started. There were several days at the end of the year in preparation for the beginning of the year and I already learned some new-to-me things. One I knew though I’m not sure I would be able to articulate it as well as Fr Mike and Jeff Cavins did – that Scripture and the Catechism are invitations to a deeper relationship with the Living Word of God, Jesus. What I didn’t remember is that after the “new” Catechism came out I’d read the whole thing as there is underlining and comments throughout. I did remember reading the Fourth Pillar on Prayer for Lent one year.

What I find humorous at the moment is that I have several journals going: one for prayer/reflection, one for the Spiritual Exercises, one for Spiritual Direction, and now one for the Catechism. And just like having two or three planners each one has a different purpose and function, each one takes a bit of work. Each is a different part of my relationship both with God and with myself and both need attention. I’m reminded frequently that life, quilting, faith, all of it together is part of who I am as a person, that this is all a process, that understanding of each comes over time and that it is all worth it.

And for the quilting part of this post after consultation with my Sweetie we are going to change out the lighting in the sewing room so I get to keep the bigger space and have better lighting at the same time. I am stupidly excited about this because I like the bigger room. Now to research lighting that will be beautiful and practical.

May our Lord’s love for you sink deeply into your being, cultivating you in new and glorious ways.


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