I needed hope and I needed courage. I asked the Lord for these things and saw a hand reach out to open the cage of my chest, releasing into it two bobbing butterflies.
I was happy to see their lovely colours and to feel their light movement within, but they soon grew weak in that chamber, eventually fluttering toward the ground to die. I was grieved by this, and did not have the heart to ask for more.
Then I received another image: a vision of a lush inner place that could sustain the life of the butterflies. I saw them not only living for longer and with more vibrancy, but also reproducing!
I think it is time not only to pray for the things I need to get through a day, but to develop a life that fosters those things.
This was one of my personal goals in coming to the convent this year, as I knew (though perhaps not to any full extent how much) I needed structure and daily disciplines in order to create the stability necessary for efficiency in my work, full presence in my prayer time and with people, and intentionality in my rest time. Previously, when there was no structure, everything was chaotically dependent upon my every moment’s feeling and impulse, which are highly capricious things not given to coming or going according to any particular schedule. Attending to my various tasks and relationships in this mercurial manner made for mediocre attentiveness to both, and additionally incurred a great deal of personal anxiety, frequently contributing to immobilizing “lows” similar to burn-out.
So here I am, at the convent, living a well-structured lifestyle alongside the Sisters. It has been wonderful and just what ‘The Doctor’ ordered; ironing me (and my emotional life) out in the ways I had hoped it would. But I think that, once again, the Spirit is adjusting the goal of my time here, or perhaps simply revealing more of it. And so even though the Sisters’ rhythm of life is still good and beneficial to me in and of itself, and still exactly what is needed at this time, I think I am being nudged to do more than simply do the rhythm. I think I need to own it in order to take it into myself. Either that or, perhaps through that, find my own rhythm—the one God drummed into my soul.
This, I sense, will sustain me, in whatever I am called to do. I do not know how or why it will, and I certainly do not know how to do the abstract work of taking a rhythm into myself, but I must if I hope to have this year’s work (and play!) settle into me in any profoundly formative and lasting way.
Sarah Moesker, SSJD Companion