Here? Again?!

4717434835_63839f70f4_bWhile I was co-facilitating a week-long intensive on spiritual formation, I noticed a familiar feeling: the desire to protect myself. It caused me to subtly close myself from God and others.

Once I recognized what I was doing, I took a deep breath and asked God to help me open up again to the Spirit and to what was going on in and around me.

Disappointment bubbled up. How many times do I have to regain this posture? In the past three years, I have written about this theme of opening to God in this post, and this one and, oh yes, that one too.

Salzburg cross 2Meanwhile Deb Arndt, Jeff Imbach and I invited the participants of Living From The Heart to welcome “what is” in their lives gently and compassionately, without judgement. So I too opened myself to God as we meditated on the image of the Salzburg crucifix (right).

This time, when I looked at Jesus on the cross, I first saw his head bent like mine in resignation. Then I saw God holding Jesus’s arms up and helping bear the weight of his pain and sorrow. But, in a way, God was also holding his arms open in love and surrender. As I continued to gaze at God and Christ, I felt understood and supported. Once again I was sweetly reminded that God is the one who makes it safe enough for me to open to the reality of life within and without me. God will help me open myself again and again and again.

“Opening to God and others is a lifelong dance of invitation, acceptance, avoidance, and invitation again, ” I said to the participants (and to myself!) that morning. “Jesus continually invites us to pay attention, to see and live into what is real and true in each moment.”*

In each moment, God welcomes us again and greets us with delight.

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

rivendell

Those of you who have read Stories of an Everyday Pilgrim will know how formative  Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island has been for me. So it was wonderful to return there for our Living From The Heart intensive. The centre is hosted by a volunteer Christian community who live by two “A”s: availability and ambience. Rooted in the gospel values of Jesus and the practised traditions of prayer, silence, simplicity and hospitality, Rivendell community offered a warm welcome to us and others seeking spiritual renewal, respite and growth and is accessible to people with limited resources and special needs.

 What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
 Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Stand Again” by Joel Olives. Used with permission.
Photo of Salzburg Cross by Steve Imbach. Used with permission.
*Quoted from Living From The Heart class notes “Foundational Truths: How We Can Be with Our Barriers to Receptivity” by Deb Arndt.
Photo of Rivendell Retreat centre used with their permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2016.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.  http://www.estherhizsa.com

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Reflections, Spiritual Direction, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Here? Again?!

  1. Sylvia says:

    To “welcome “what is” in their lives gently and compassionately, without judgement” stood out to me. Thank you for sharing another treasure with us Esther. I think it’s worth a try 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the reminder to listen to what’s going on inside when stuff goes on outside. It is so easy to be distracted. Thank you for the reminder of Gods grace. Again and again and again

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Esther Hizsa says:

    You’re welcome. Yes, we are so easily distracted. Glad we have an attentive dance partner in God.

    Like

  4. Pingback: The Dance of a Loving Community | An Everyday Pilgrim

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