It is with a heart full of gratitude that I approach my blog tonight to wrap up the Week of Light and the project of the 7 holy pauses. I have learned and grown so much.
Those who have been reading regularly may recall that in July, as an act of contrition for having neglected my blog for over a month, I made a commitment to post every day for a week on one of 7 words: hope, peace, grace, mercy, love, joy and light. Then I invited readers to share any art, poetry, photos, etc. on these topics and promised to post them two weeks later.
When I found that I had very few contributions by early August, I decided that I would post the ones submitted and make up the difference myself - 7 days straight for each of the holy pauses.
It seemed almost an impossible challenge to lay upon myself. Where would I get the time? How would I think of enough to write about - that would add up to 49 posts - more than twice the number I had done in any previous year?
I did not have the answers to these questions. And that is perhaps one of the most important lessons I have learned. I did not need to have the answers. What I needed to do was make a commitment based on faith and then live it out one day at a time.
The faith that fueled my leap into this frenzy of blogging certainly wasn't faith in myself. As I have commented on and off throughout, I have most often not had any idea what I was going to write and sometimes sat down feeling too exhausted to write anything.
A second important lesson learned was that often this was a good thing. When I was feeling empty and depleted, I was best able to recognize my dependence on God. If I thought for a moment that I was full of good ideas or poetry or art, I would not feel such a need to turn to Him. And that would have been a great loss - surely for me and likely for you as well.
Turning to God to help me blog - it sounds so silly - as though the Creator of the universe would be concerned about what I posted on the Internet! And yet, time after time, it has been made clear to me that I was not alone in this endeavor, that the holy One used my keystrokes to express His love for you and me.
If that should sound grandiose, please know that my intent is quite the opposite: I feel very humbled by this entire process. A friend commented to me today about some of the late hours at which I posted. I found that often I couldn't stop until I was finished.
(And it wasn't just me being compulsive about my commitment to get it done on the same day, though I don't deny that factor!).
When I was writing The Broken Wing, part 2, for example, I needed to find out how the story was going to end. How was this painful question of God allowing the little one to suffer going to be resolved? I truly didn't know. But I kept typing until the resolution made itself known.
There have been many times when I have been stuck in the middle of a post, not knowing where it was going, and paused to ask God for help. And help always came. That does not mean, of course, that I think that everything posted here is brilliant and divinely inspired. Certainly not!
It does means that I have learned more profoundly how much I need and want to turn to God for help in all that I do. There is much greater hope, peace, love and joy in my life when I rely on His grace and mercy, bringing my confusions and dilemmas into His light.
I am not sure that I ever explained why I have referred to these words as "holy pauses". If I have forgotten, perhaps you have as well. I first heard the phrase from Christine at Abbey of the Arts. While it more than I can explain here, I learned through a number of online retreats with her the importance of "pausing" to remember the holy in the midst of our busy days.
The Catholic church accepts the exhortation to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), with seven pauses for prayer each day. Most people outside of religious life do not have the time to incorporate all of these prayers as they are written in the Divine Office. However, we can all "pause" for a minute or two 7 times a day to remember God - and these words became the themes of my pausing.
So...let us pause once more with the Light. I would like to share with you a poem and an image.
I wrote the poem earlier this year as part of an online class through the Abbey. We were offered the first line of a famous poem to use as the beginning our own poem. Thus, the first line of the following poem was first penned by William Carlos Williams.
(I am offering the option for you to listen to my poem if you prefer that to reading it - or do both. Just click on the little arrow and it will play.)
so much depends upon
me – or so i had imagined –
until one day, i was no more.
it is hard to say just how it happened.
it was a gentle, loving sort of thing
hardly noticed for all its power –
much like morning dew
imperceptibly drawn into
sun’s warming rays
or like summer’s long shadows
sinking with setting sun
into peaceful darkness.
once gone, all the longings,
needs and rages of old
seemed but a bit of dust.
it was, in the end,
only the Light that mattered –
glory upon glory to Him.