Further into faith and only a few miles through suburbia to my workplace, I covered great distances daily. Interestingly, it was through my metaphorical travels that I learned to be acutely present to others and to my immediate day-to-day. As I listened to individuals tell their stories and express their struggles, I opened to a deeper meaning of being interconnected in the care and keeping of Love.
Within their stories, I paid close attention to where God’s Spirit might be directing them. Many times, I had to restrain myself from projecting my own journey on top of theirs, for fear of tainting a narrative that was not mine. But in listening and letting their stories be their own, occasionally, a pattern would emerge that acted as a map for my journey. And I discovered the gift that Henri Nouwen described as community in our aloneness. In the giving, I received.
Sundays were the biggest travel days of all. Not only did I briefly travel to my own desert, but also I traveled alongside others. Up mountains, down into valleys and exploring deep caverns with person after person. It was exhilarating and it was tiring.
For the sake of keeping myself balanced, I found that it required learning what Marjorie Thompson described as Holy Leisure in her book, Soul Feast. How I delighted in the rest and in finding the beginnings of oneness in being.
I wrestled with questions deeper than words could answer until, under the dark night sky in the desert, I stopped grappling and reached for the invitation to cross over the threshold into a new room in Theresa’s castle.
I had visions of Spirit wooing others, anyone who would free fall into her arms of freedom. In all of the intentional working outward, upward to Father God, who would have thought that it was a free fall down? And in all of the praise, thanksgiving and worshipping Jesus as Lord, who would have thought that now, it was about following Him?
There in ever widening paradoxes, I realized that as much as I wanted to, I could not hold all of the either/or. Instead, I had to die to more false parts of myself and embrace what I could of both/and, what overlapped. I found that the part that overlapped was Love. Until I found longer arms, I could hold that much, and that was a start.