But no matter how certain I am that there are in fact things happening during this apparent pause in the here and now, I sometimes find it difficult to answer when someone else asks “Where were you?”
I thought about this the other day when I was on a plane. Where was I? Up. Over. Going. Coming. Suspended. Defying. Contained. Nearer. Further. Neither. Nor. Honestly, it rather suited my mood to not know.
Yet I know that I have an equal desire to be certain of a given moment…the particulars don’t necessarily faze me, but to know, wherever it is that I might be…this gives me place within the embrace of the universe.
If that means knowing I am lost, so be it. Knowing I am scared, so be it. Knowing I love or frustrate or am strong or am vulnerable or all of this all together, so be it. If it means that I am in the midst of a stanza or an ache or an encounter with God, so be it.
But I also know that there are in-between places. Liminal times of neither-here-nor-there-ness. And I know that those places and times afford a perspective on a much greater whole.
That’s where I find myself going in the pauses…where the sky and the earth meet in gently curving light. Where there is a fullness, not an absence. A fullness of possibility, of dreams, of more wonder waiting…of new days dawning and star flecked rest beckoning.
The more I muse about this, I can’t help reflecting on the connection between knowing where I am and the call of God…the connection between spending time in the limen and being free, loose, open, enough to listen without fear, to listen with desire.
It reminded me of a reflection I wrote once about Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne. It is good to find it again and take it to heart these traveling days.
Philippine dreamed big and listened wide for the voice, the call, of God. Whether working with those in need closer to home in Grenoble, or giving herself to a pull that would take her away from that which was physically familiar and ever deeper into the diverse terrain of the Heart where she made her true home, Philippine responded with disponibilite, creativity, and a broad, inclusive desire to make God’s love known.
With fervor, she talked and wrote openly of her desires, her thoughts, her discernment with God. My contemporary imagination easily hears her saying year after year “and, oh, by the way … if you need someone to cross an ocean and start something new … I’m still open because that is where I believe God is calling me to go.”
It is one thing to have the dream. It is another still to voice it. But it is something else altogether to drop everything and go forward once approval comes … to go when the cost is dear and the unknowns looming; to go prayerfully and with courage; to say Yes and walk on knowing that doubt, fear, and challenge will be probable companions and might sometimes even gain the upper hand temporarily; to say Yes above all else to sharing the Love to which I too have given my life.
That level of freedom, that intensity of commitment to dreaming and discerning, to the Society, to God, and to God’s people, is one of the qualities I admire most about Philippine.