The new school year is just around the corner. New challenges and old difficulties. Although I have to admit that I already miss some of my students, I am aware that it’s probably just the teacher’s optimism manifesting itself in mid-August 😉 Anyway, I had a beautiful holiday and I’m coming back to fight everyday life with new strength. Once again, I had the great pleasure to spend a whole month on various types of spiritual exercises, leaving my own retreat for dessert. I won’t tell you much, but I can share one little adventure that turned out to be quite interesting.
One day I woke up in the morning thinking that I would like to have some plums. I was a bit surprised by this thought, because they are neither my favorite fruit, nor was there any particular reason to feel like eating them right now. However, I quickly rationalized my sudden fruit craving, realizing that the time for plums is probably not until September, so I should wait patiently. It would seem that this was enough in the topic, but to my great surprise, it was them that appeared at dinner – plums in their beautiful purple form! I had not yet managed to get over my admiration for God’s wonderful surprises when it turned out that this is not going to be sweet spiritual candy, but rather a sour lesson to remember. It is not difficult to guess that the plums turned out to be unripe and I swallowed them with difficulty as part of my afternoon snack. They left their mark in my spiritual diary: “Have patience or else you will eat unripe plums.”
Patience is a virtue that we all need. It is not surprising that it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, because clearly grace is needed to wait without complaining and trying to force certain processes. Sometimes the road through the desert is getting long, but God knows what He’s doing. “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard delay, but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pt 3:8-9) Fortunately, although we often lose patience, He will never run out of it!
Today I decided to write a bit about where I am in my life, inspired by a video talking about how we rarely share what we experience when we are inside a crisis, however, this is the moment where many of us are. It’s a good time for supporting each other and reminding ourselves and others that the crisis will come to an end one day.
For as long as I can remember, the wind has been my favourite element. I love standing at the top of a mountain when it is free to blow through the slopes. I like to watch the trees bend under its influence and feel its breeze on my face. It is the wind that brings energy, puts things into motion and refreshes in the heat. Of course, it can also be destructive and ruthless in its power, which inspires respect. The wind also brings changes. Jesus tells Nicodemus that “the wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes” (Jn 3,8). Therefore, these changes are often surprising and difficult for us.
Wind and spirit in Greek (pneuma) are the same word. No wonder that sometimes we feel as if the Holy Spirit is penetrating our souls, captivating us and throwing in different places in life. It’s easy to talk about it when you’ve already walked through the desert and have been lead to the Promised Land. However, it is more difficult when you feel that the desert is just beginning. It is a difficult path, because the goal seems to be unreachable, since it is completely invisible on the horizon, and at night you feel frightened because the sounds of wild animals resemble demons. At this moment, you have to trust God and your intuition. Today I am exactly at this point – nothing at all is known and it can be hard at times, but I can feel the breeze of the Spirit on my skin. And that has to be enough.
However, the desert is not only a place where you can hear wild animals and see sand to the horizon. It is also (or perhaps most of all) a place of meeting God. Tomorrow I am beginning my retreat (this time not directly in the desert, but at the foot of the Pyrenees) and I know that He will be talking to me. I doubt that he will draw me a new plan and show me where to go, but he will certainly provide me with water and food to keep me going.
I promise my prayers and ask for the same!