I have lately been giving a great deal of thought to the connection between all the new things I am getting involved in: writing articles about America's wild horses, soaking up books about historic females in the bible, some saints, some not, but all women of power and purpose, resiliency and intelligence, and extraordinary inner strength, simultaneously working to improve my writing skills, advance myself academically, and improve my life spiritually, and, hopefully, remembering to stop along the way, as much as possible, to smell the proverbial roses. Even though all of these are rather unrelated, and each one takes a great deal of time, they all "feel" right. For whatever reason, I don't feel scattered about going in so many different directions at once. In fact, I feel light and liberated! And I am thinking now that it's all about balance.
For the past six years, since I wrote and published Finding Emmaus, my first book, my life has been almost entirely devoted to that craft -- that and the films my partner and I produced -- to the tune of 90-plus hours each and every week, with only two intervening five-day vacations... and, of course, my 2.5-day annual silent retreats at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, N.Y.
Perhaps that's the reason balance seems to be the new lesson in my life. The word keeps coming up for me, again and again and, in fact, when I brought it up at the closing discussion session of this year's retreat, the priests thought it might be an appropriate theme for our next retreat in 2015.
The Gospel of St. Matthew takes us from one of Jesus' miracles to the next, and the next. Each time He walks down the street, constantly people are approaching Him, asking Him to heal them. Seems He can't get from one end of the street to the other without being begged for help time after time. Seems He barely manages to take 10 steps before another person beseeches Him to heal themselves or a loved one or someone in their household, even a servant, and without hesitation, without considering who the petitioner is or whether they are worthy or how busy He is or what else is on the agenda or where He is headed, He simply stops and heals them, all of them, without exception.
As long as I can remember, I have always seen this an exposé on His "God-ness," His ability and willingness to perform miracles, specifically the miracle of healing -- that's what I saw and heard every time I read this gospel, or heard it read at church: the fact that Jesus can do these things for us, and can continue to do so, even when He is not physically in our presence.
However... about two weeks ago, something else suddenly occurred to me: Jesus is interruptable!! No matter where He's going, no matter what He's doing, no matter how important the task is that He's on His way to, He never says no, He is never too busy to help someone in need, to give someone His attention or His love. Isn't that incredible?? And isn't that essential?
How many times do we pass up opportunities to be with the ones who need us, or the ones we need, because we are on our way somewhere, focused on a task that lay ahead, or exhausted from one that lay behind? And how much life and love do we miss on account of that?
Maybe these new paths I am taking, all the things I am learning and wanting to learn, are meant to help me become "more" -- more of what I already am, or more of what I am meant to be, or maybe a little of both -- which in the long run will make me better: a better wife, mother, sister, grandmother, writer, filmmaker, boss, friend, daughter of God. Maybe I need to be doing things, new things in addition to those I've been steadfastly focused on for so long, things that challenge me and educate me and expand my universe, in order to have more balance in my life.