Such a Hike

Monday, March 22nd, was my birthday! Hey, thanks for the birthday greetings!!

My first little celebration with my wife and friend 2 days BEFORE my birthday!

The day comes yearly, and even though my body is aging, inside I don’t feel one iota different. Perhaps this is the whole scriptural picture of “the inward man being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

I easily forget that now I am now 62. Inside, I still often feel in my 30s. Since I spent decades feeling like I was a teen still, I guess I have matured a bit! 😉 Now, I have had to remind myself when speaking to a friend in his 30s that I am not the same age!

For my birthday, since I was in the middle of teaching a class for four hours each evening, our youngest daughter, Gabri (29), took me on a hike and then met Karen for lunch. It was a marvelous half day together. I relish every moment I have with any of our girls.

Per usual, Gabri and I had this amazing deep conversation about life, Scripture, and God. It is such a journey as a parent to walk alongside as my girls make faith their own and come to grips with how they will walk and pursue life. I’m impressed with the depth of each of them and on Monday with Gabri, in her thinking and heart.

This conversation and journey underlined for me, anew, how much I need to let go.

I need to allow God to do His work in Gabri’s life.

It is not mine to dictate nor manage her faith– as if I could! Indeed, were I to try to do so, I’d certainly mess it up. No, it is mine to pray and trust Jesus. Besides, He is much more interested in her daily life and loves her more than I ever could.

Gabri, already, is a marvelous person – you’ll agree I’m certain when you meet her. Her friends routinely tell her she is a deep river or ocean of wisdom! Clearly, God is at work.

Beyond the beauty of the walk and the morning, with the splendor of God’s creation around us, what has stayed with me is this: our lives are not our own but God’s.

This morning I joined my wife and her congregation for morning worship, and at worship reencountered Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s beautiful poem included below. It eloquently put words around what I was feeling both for my own life and for our daughter’s life.

In life when we are young we tend to be anxious to get older, then, as we age, we still feel young, and want time to slow down. But, de Chardin spoke into my heart to trust in what he terms “the slow work of God.” I love how this applies to all of life, not just my view of my children’s lives.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end
Without delay.
We should like to skip
The intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on
The way to something unknown,
Something new,
And yet it is the law of all progress
That it is made by passing through
Some stages of instability —
And that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually —
Let them grow,
Let them shape themselves,
Without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
As though you could be today
What time will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
Gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
That his hand is leading you,
And accept the anxiety of
Feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J..

 https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/ignatian-prayers

At a friend’s house this week I noted how his usually incredible garden in this season is similarly trusting in God’s slow work.

So, will you join me as I trust in the slow work of God, friends? Let God in. Enjoy the moments. Let trust be the foundation of your heart.

Gabri brought me these birthday flowers!!!

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