“Are you doing alright?’ I asked. The response came measured and thoughtful, “Actually, I’m finding myself in a pretty challenging place these days. For reasons that are completely unclear to me, one of my oldest friends is not returning my calls. And that has filled me with a fair bit of self doubt about what I have done. And if that’s not enough, my prayer life feels pretty shallow of recent…God feels very distant.”
Strained relationship with others, feeling less than our best self, not being spiritually grounded, I imagine all of us can resonate with each one of these at different times in our lives. However, when we get bowled over by the tsunami trifecta it can be utterly overwhelming. At the core of our being we are called to be in relationship. This is the heart of our sacred story, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And as such, even if we try to deny, dismiss or diminish that we are out of alignment with the three primary relationships of our lives with God, neighbor and self we intrinsically know different.
The Church, in her wisdom, provides a pathway to assist in reconciling with the three primary relationships in our lives with God, neighbor and self during the liturgical season of Lent. This forty day journey is a holy invitation to explore deeply where we are with each one of these relationships. It is a holy opportunity to pause and honestly reflect on what has been said and left unsaid, done and left undone. In my experience, this intentional relational examination consistently provides clarity to the path towards redemption and reconciliation.
I would also suggest that it is critical to share the journey with others. The pilgrimage toward healing and wholeness is always enhanced by the companionship of others. Those whose company provides compassion and perspective, empathy and enlightenment. There is no better balm for the strained relationships in our lives than walking with others who are life giving for us.
“In the light of eternity, we’re here for a very short time, really. We’re here for one thing, ultimately: to learn how to love, because God is love. Love is our origin, love is our ground, and love is our destiny.”
– James Finley