These past few weeks have been an incredible journey of awe, gratitude, adventure and the Lord’s companionship.
I started a new Masters in Applied Spirituality in Milltown, followed by my first sliver of a walk on the Camino, deliberately ‘solo mio’ as they say.
One of the tasks given to us students after our intensive Summer School was to write a Spiritual Autobiography, showing how God had influenced our lives and to highlight aspects where there was transformation. Ultimately, I realised that it wasn’t so much ‘my’ autobiography but rather God’s story in my life. That slight shift in perception in itself, gave me a great sense of ‘wow’!
When packing for my Camino, on the last day of the Summer School, I decided to bring my laptop with me so I could get started on this autobiography which is, after all a 6000-word assignment!
As I walked and reflected on key episodes of my life, I felt deeply humbled by how God had worked through the various episodes of this life especially over the past two years when, as you know, things were very difficult for me. I was also very grateful for God’s presence as I walked on my own, lost in the beautiful Galician countryside and just being present to God and nature. From my reflections, I remembered key readings I clung to during the difficult times of 2014. One in particular, I would like to share with you. It’s a poem by John O’Donoghue, called: “For a New Beginning” which became, like a literary mentor, during my dark days and now that those days are past and the sun is shining, this same poem has also captured that too.
There are key phrases in this poem which really challenged me at the time such as: “…still unable to leave what you had outgrown” coupled with “it watched you play with the seduction of safety”.
I remember at the time that perhaps I actually had ‘outgrown’ where I was at and indeed, was embracing the ‘seduction of safety’ – I certainly was resistant to change.
But change did occur and I learned to “unfurl [myself] into the grace of beginning”. Given the adventure of the Camino and this incredible rich course of study, I know in my core that my “soul senses the world that awaits [me]”.
I am deeply grateful for how things have panned out in my life and I am in profound awe at the Camino, that is my life and how Jesus has always been “The Way, the Truth and the Life”. John 14:6
In my sharing this poem with you, I hope that you will find challenge, encouragement and support in your life and that you will be reassured to keep trusting the process of your unique “Camino”.
FOR A NEW BEGINNING
In out of the way places of the heart Where your thoughts never think to wander This beginning has been quietly forming Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time, it has watched your desire Feeling the emptiness grow inside you Noticing how you willed yourself on Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety And the grey promises that sameness whispered Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled, And out you stepped onto new ground, Your eyes young again with energy and dream A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear You can trust the promise of this opening; Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk Soon you will be home in a new rhythm For your soul senses the world that awaits you.