Among those who seek God, “…There is an incoming and outgoing tide of fellowship and solitariness.” — T. Elton Trueblood
I’m back before I thought I would be, here with a clarification on yesterday’s post.
In that post, I’d talked about how I tend to hide away during Lent. I shared how a friend of mine was concerned she might be pestering me by reaching out, and how I had quickly dispelled that, explaining that I still need interaction, though it will take a different form during Lent. But then I received a genuinely concerned comment through email wondering if I’m okay because I seemed a little glum in that last post.
This was a wake-up call to me. I realized that in mentioning my Lenten intentions, I had not aptly conveyed what is going on within me right now. Yes, I am retreating somewhat, but it is a good thing. For one thing, I am reading, more, including a book filled with testimonies, like the one from retreat leader Ralph Martin, who said, “It is good to set oneself apart for a while…On retreat you are able to pay attention to the interior movement of God.”
But even in the quiet, perhaps because of it, I am filling up with ideas and I can’t wait to share some of them over the next days and weeks. Big things are happening within me already and Lent has just begun!
Last week, I took part in a Dedication Mass for our brand-new church. I still have so much I want to share about that experience and how wonderful it is to be part of a growing, vibrant parish. Last night, I went to a fundraising dinner for our local Catholic radio station and had the pleasure of hearing and meeting national Catholic radio talk-show host Al Kresta. My family is healthy and doing well. I have beautiful friends in my life and am making new connections all the time. I feel very alive and blessed, though suffering moments still happen. Even those are not altogether horrible, for they keep me humble, keep me grounded, keep my eye on hope.
But…I am plunging for a while into the deep spiritual waters that have been awaiting me. So far, the water is warm and refreshing. It’s as if I’m floating in amniotic fluid, waiting to be born. I hear faint voices and watch the world in muted colors, and yet I have what I need here, and I can hear the heartbeat of the one who holds me quite well.
I bought the book on testimonies last night from Al Kresta. Moments of Grace is a collection of inspiring stories from well-known Catholics. At the beginning of the book, Kresta mentions five conditions that “put us in the position to expect a visitation from God” — an apt description for what I’m trying to do this Lent. He borrows this list from Quaker philosopher T. Elton Trueblood, with the fifth condition of what puts us in the position to expect a visitation from God being: A paradoxical combination of aloneness and togetherness. In his book, The Knowledge of God, Trueblood says that among those who seek God, “…There is an incoming and outgoing tide of fellowship and solitariness.”
So here I am, a bit more into the “solitariness” than usual, but still mindful of the fact that to know God fully, the outgoing tide of fellowship will need to return. It’s a cycle of plunging to emerge, to plunge again, with the intent of emerging after that. Jesus ascended, then descended, and then he ascended again. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. And when the world at last comes to an end, he will ascend one last time, bringing the faithful with him.
This time of descending is necessary for growth. I already miss the exchanges with readers, but I know without a doubt that in quieting down, His voice is becoming louder, His words clearer. I am at rapt attention, waiting to see just where He’s going to take me…and, perhaps, you.