LINGERING—perhaps a lost art in today’s world of back-to-back activity. What’s comes to your mind and heart as you hear that word? I encourage you to pause with that question before reading on. For me, I sense an ancient beauty to that word. Relaxed and wide-open in all the senses. A depth. Perhaps a way to experience the depth of our reality. Each moment is full or pregnant with the essence of God—Divine Mystery. This holds true with moments of joy as well as those of pain and suffering. The art of lingering may hold a key to living in the depth of our reality—those sacred moments that seem to come and go so quickly.
Even as I am writing this with a sense that it’s inspired by the Holy Spirit, I feel myself revving up a bit and wanting to get it done. Rather than being critical of this part of me, I am comforted as God softly reminds me that this is another opportunity to look to the Divine for help in my humanness.
Many of you know that I am enrolled in a five-year program for certification in Spiritual Direction. I recently completed the fourth year and will have a pause this summer before entering into the last year. Though it is tempting to jump into my What’s next? for the summer and beyond, I have felt God’s gentle nudge and tender voice saying to me: “Why don’t you linger a bit with me, Cherry, and reflect on this past year of study?” Go slow is another message I frequently hear from God. I’ve spent a lot of my life going full-speed or, more accurately, going over the speed limit. One can miss a lot by living at that pace. Thus, the word lingering captures my attention, and begs a response.
Completing this program will be a dream come true for me—a heart’s desire of mine for many years. I believe that warrants some lingering and deep gratitude for God’s faithful love and mercy to me. As a part of the fourth year, Practicum One, I was able to shadow two spiritual directors who co-facilitated a Retreat in Daily Living, a thirty-week program following the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Since most of us are not able to step away from our lives for 30 days as in Ignatius’ time, this retreat is done at home with daily prayer times, weekly meetings with a small group of others going through the Exercises, and meeting with a spiritual director twice a month. I did the Retreat in 2019 so it was very meaningful to be able to repeat it, and see how God has been at work in me and my life since then.
As I have lingered with that experience, I wrote the following:
This was a unique opportunity to regularly pause and grow closer to God in prayer while still living my normal daily life. Doing this retreat under the guidance of a spiritual director and with others who also yearned to grow their connection with God and God’s love was of great value. It felt like I had a team of cheerleaders supporting me and encouraging me on. The Exercises are commonly called a school of prayer. One learns different ways of praying: praying with your desires, meditating on Scripture, using imagination in prayer, conversing with Jesus as a friend, journaling , and reflecting on God’s movements in your day and your responses to God.
I left the retreat calmer, free from things that had bound me, less controlling, more trusting, and eager to reach out to others with the deep love of God that I have encountered.
My prayer now is that I may live in awe and wonder with
and clarity of purpose.
For me, to feel more at peace, free from things that can bind me, less controlling, and more trusting and loving toward others are all huge gifts. I want to remain with God, let God take me deeper into these realities, so that they become a part of my core, my essence. I want to relate to others from that place.
As I linger in these moments with gratitude, aware of my weaknesses, my humanness, and my need for God moment by moment, I sense God giving me confidence in him and clarity of purpose.
Reviewing my journal from my first retreat, I ran across the phrase: “Wait and let God aim you.” A phrase that has been on my heart this year has been: “I waited and God moved.” This is my hope-filled prayer for my next season.
As we come upon Pentecost, let us linger and ponder the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Advocate that fights for us. Who anchors us in the moment. The One who consoles, encourages, animates, enlivens, emboldens, and gives us work to do. We can trust this Spirit with our What’s Next? There is purpose and power in lingering. God is preparing us, and at His appointed time will aim us and let us fly.
“… I know in whom I have put my trust, and I have no doubt at all that he is able to safeguard until that Day what I have entrusted to him.” 2 Timothy 1:12
*** Anyone interested in learning more about the Retreat in Daily Living and how you might participate in a group this fall, reach out to me privately.