Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thursday's Reflection: The Fullness of Life

My current morning meditation and devotion time book is The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski, and on a recent morning I read this about the spiritual life in the chapter on the practice of pilgrimage. The spiritual life trains us to
          intentionally watch and wait for all the ways God
          is at work in the world, all the ways God is at
          work in us, to bring us all into the fullness of life.
                                                    p. 221

I felt a little gasp inside when I read that, a little whoosh of wonder. 


My life feels very full right now and when I came home from an informational meeting at The Loft Literary Center about applying for a grant that would support the writing project I have started, I felt more overwhelmed than full. Almost panicky. The deadline for the project is April 3, and I am not sure, not sure at all, if I can do what the application requires before that date. Before that time we will be out of town for a few days and I am also preparing to lead a retreat early in April and there is volunteering at our grandson's school, writing this blog, being involved in church activities, spending time with my Dad, and providing Kid Care as needed. That's the short list, and it is all good, but, my, the days fly. It has always felt like a cliche when retired people talk about how much busier they are than when they worked full-time, but now I understand the truth underneath the cliche. 

The question arises: Is this the spiritual life? Are these full days what is meant by the "fullness of life"?

I asked myself this question as I stood in our sun-filled sunporch, the room we call the snuggery, this morning. The day before it had snowed --one of those light, fluffy, cleansing kinds of snows--but the sidewalks were clear, thanks to March sun, which is so different in warmth and intensity than January or February sun. I bought two bunches of forsythia earlier in the week, and their presence seems to herald spring, which always comes, even when we think it won't. I noticed more yellow blossoms than the day before, almost in defiance of the recent snowfall.  A sign of spring as winter lives on--now that is fullness. 

In fullness we live with more possibilities than one.
In fullness we live in the present, remembering the past and open to the future.
In fullness we live with awareness, responding to the gifts around us and the gifts we have within ourselves.

Fullness is not the same as busyness. When I feel overwhelmed, it is because I am too busy and maybe even proud of or attached to that busyness, and not because I am living in fullness. 

Being full is not the same as eating too much, but rather is about eating just the right amount. 
Being full is not about having no time, but, instead, is about living the time we have. 
Being full is not the opposite of emptiness, but, instead, is living with an attitude of spaciousness.

I know I need to sit quietly and consider the choices in front of me. 

How do the choices I make lead me into the spiritual life, support the spiritual life, and lead me into the fullness of life? How different these questions are from studying the pros and cons of a particular situation or dilemma. At this stage of my life I am asked to live deliberately, intentionally, always with my eyes, my whole being, in fact, awake to God's presence within and without. 

Being full grows not out of fear, but from love.

Perhaps, these prayers from John O'Donohue's To Bless the Space Between Us, A Book of Blessings, can be a guide as we move towards fullness in our spiritual lives.  

                May I have the courage today
                To live the life that I would love,
                To postpone my dream no longer
                But do at last what I came here for
                And waste my heart on fear no more.

                May I live this day
                Compassionate of heart,
                Clear in word,
                Gracious in awareness,
                Courageous in thought,
                Generous in love. 

An Invitation
Are you full or are you busy? What does fullness of life mean to you? Are you living a spiritual life and what exactly does that mean to you? I would love to know. 


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