I never thought I would see the day that I would actually thank Mitt Romney for something, but just such an occasion occurred the other day on my way to work. Fed up with endless political coverage on the morning news, the sound of his voice prompted me to turn off the radio. In the ensuing silence I took up a not uncommon ritual that begins, "Well God, here we are..."
I don't publicize my years-long struggle with prayer that has left me groping for the deep connection with the divine that I used to enjoy and took for granted. It somehow seemed unseemly to admit that a priest just couldn't pray. I tried. When called upon I could muster up the connection and the words. But something broke a while ago and I have had trouble since then with prayer.
A recent piece I saw on television that shared the results of a "prayer energy study" convinced me, however, that it was time to give it another whirl. So the other day while driving to work I whirled. In prayer, not on the road.
With anything significant happening in my life I strike up conversations with God. With changes on the horizon as I begin the journey of looking for a new job, it was a natural course of action. I jumped right in where I thought we had left off previously on the subject of vocation, namely: "Please! I need clarity and direction!" This has been a mantra of prayer for more than ten years, and it has been an intensely frustrating effort to hear any acknowledgement or response to my please.
And then the Holy Spirit nudged my mind to wander a bit. Crafty bugger, she is. My thoughts went back 25 years (gracious!) to a card I received from a friend that read: "God loves us for who we are, not for who we are supposed to be," or words to that effect. Inside the card she had written, "sometimes those two are not far apart." My mind considered that wisdom, and on reflection landed on this: I already knew everything I needed to know about what to do next and what direction to follow. Trust that.
I was reminded of the story about the believer who prayed to God about two choices before him. He appealed to the almighty for guidance making the choice, saying, "this option has all of these benefits, all of which would be wonderful. The other option has those benefits, all of which would be wonderful. Which should I choose?" To which God replied, "either one would be fine with me."
The epiphany is that God has given me all that I need to move forward. I don't need to wait on guidance that has been there all along, I simply need to heed the wisdom of what I already know. Self-awareness is, after all, one of the gifts God gave me. Use it, for heaven's sake!
I can't tell you what a relief it is to come to this understanding, and how it has opened a door to listening in a new way to what I know about myself. Now the work begins to piece together the knowledge I have and seek opportunities that will draw on the fullness of who I am and what I have to offer.
Stay tuned. And have a great week.