Saturday, January 19, 2019

Ten year challenge

Chair in the basement laundry room at Eastern 
Point, which was an apt place to work with the 
material of the First Week. Note the journal.
There's a meme going around on social media recently, often tagged "How hard did aging hit you?" with the invitation to post current photos next to photos from ten years ago.  Ten years ago today I was at Eastern Point, on the coast of Massachusetts, deep into the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola as laid out in the 20th annotation. Thirty days of silence, away from home and family, free to pray.

In the fall, I wondered how I might revisit the Exercises this winter. And then my father died and I tossed my winter break plans out the window. Now I wonder if I shouldn't reframe that 10-year challenge question: how hard did the Long Retreat hit me?

I pulled the black Moleskine journal I kept out to browse, flicking through the pages, stopping to look the photos that I added when I came home, wondering at the neatly printed notes I made each day on post-it notes about my prayer to prepare for my meetings with my director.  I would stick them to the front of my journal and then generally never once refer to them.  Much of what was written there went unsaid, as is true of so much of the Exercises. But I'm grateful for those notes that I carefully taped into the journal now, because they are about the only thing I can read. The Exercises might change lives, but they did nothing to improve my handwriting. I'm equally grateful for the letter my director suggested I write to future me, noting what I might want to re-visit later.

How hard did that Long Retreat hit me? Hard enough that a decade later it is still unfolding. #fifthWeek

No comments:

Post a Comment