I will be moving to a new place this fall–if all goes as planned. The house the three of us are living in needs some major repairs. The parish that owns the house cannot make these repairs. We understand completely. The parish is not kicking us out; we are being proactive. In future blogs I’ll reflect on this venerable house (it was built in 1848!) and the moving process. In this reflection, I would like to talk about moving on as a modus operandi of the spiritual life.
Here is a dialog between God and me. I did not actually hear God with my ears, of course. And I’m not writing so much about physically moving from this house. I’m writing about the deeper movement of the soul, the movement from where we are to where God is calling us to be.
And the Lord God spoke to me, saying, “Get up, my Beloved, and move to a new place.”
And I said: “But, God, what’s wrong with this place? What’s wrong with where I am? What’s wrong with me as I am? Can’t I stay here, please? I like it here.”
And God said, “Move.”
“But, God, don’t you see? I’m familiar with this place. And I like familiar things. Unfamiliar things scare me. And I’m comfortable here. I like being comfortable too.”
And God said nothing.
“God, I’m tired of moving. I’ve been moving my whole life. I just get settled somewhere, and you ask me to move again. When I was younger, it was easier for me to move into the future. The future was an exciting place, full of possibilities.
“But now, God, things are different. The future doesn’t look as expansive as it used to look. The path ahead for me seems more restricted. It’s darker too. Lots of ambiguity, uncertainty. Why can’t I stay here, God? In fact, I was even wondering if I might exchange this wind-torn tent for something a little more permanent, more stationary? Like a small sturdy log cabin? Or maybe even a modest brick house? What do you have against settling down, anyway?”
And God said, “My Beloved, I am asking you to get up and move on. Your journey is not over yet. You must keep moving forward. Pack a few essentials for the trip: Faith… Hope… and Love. And tuck in Humor… Patience… and Curiosity too. Sometimes I think they’re almost as important as the Big Three.”
God continues: “Your life lies before you, Honey. Always before you. Movement is the essence of all that is. Think of planet earth rotating every day. Think of it circling the sun every year. Think of every single cell in your body as moving. And every molecule that composes every cell. And every atom that composes every molecule is spinning and twirling and dancing away! Flow is the essence of existence. Flow is the essence of salvation. Flow is the essence of me too.”
I sit and think. And then I say: “Okay, I get that. Everything’s moving. But why must I move? Give me one good reason.”
And God takes a deep breath and then says, “I’ll give you three good reasons: because I am asking you to move… because I will be with you every step of the way… and because I think the world of you!”
I am silent. God is silent. And then I say, “Okay. Okay. I’ll move…One more time… because… only because I think the world of you, too.”
- Are there any words or phrases in this reflection that “hit home” with you? If so, what are they and why?
- What have been some of the major “moves” in your life? Did you welcome them or resist them? What helped you to make these moves?
- What are some of the “interior moves” that God asks of us–for example, to change our attitude about something? What helps us identify and make these moves?
Our song today is an oldie but goody: “Day by Day” from Godspell. The refrain is attributed to a 13th Century English Bishop, St. Richard of Chichester. I chose this song because it captures the essential movement in the spiritual life: SEE… LOVE… FOLLOW. I’m offering two versions. The first is the song with lyrics set against some beautiful nature pictures. The second is a clip from the movie (1973).
“Day by Day” with lyrics:
“Day by Day” film clip
I invite you to respond to this reflection, the song, or the other responses.