Honor the Journey

Terrified. Confused. Angry. Unbalanced. Timid. All of these are appropriate descriptors for the way I’ve been feeling about my spiritual life lately.

It started back in August (well, at least this round started in August, anyway). After months of dreaming and scheming, five of us gathered in Florida.  We’d connected via the internet and were delighted to have an entire week to share in person time with each other.  We shared laughter and tears, hugs and hearts, wine and chocolate, and it was beautiful.  And on Sunday we joined one of our company and attended Catholic Mass.

I didn’t really give much thought to attending Mass, just happily agreed.  Liturgy long ago rooted its beauty deep within me, and after a few years away, I was delighted for an excuse to return, and to return with people I loved.  Several years ago I’d briefly explored the process of conversion to Catholicism, ultimately shelving the idea in realization of some familial complications, and some unhealthy people-pleasing motivations for the exploration.  I was certain that this was a whim, now safely behind me, and I was free to simply enjoy the beauty of the liturgy, and seeing God in a different form of worship, without out any personal ramifications.

It would seem I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.

I can’t explain the experience I had that day.  I can’t even give a detailed description, because, like so many of my powerful experiences of God, the details are blurry in the face of the overwhelming knowledge that I met God in that place and moment. It was quiet and personal, not loud and public.  It was one of those moments of deep personal spiritual communion, of a heart in the presence of the Holy Spirit, being melded, softened and moved.

It took a month or two for me to understand the extent of that movement.  To understand that this was going to be one of those “trust God with the journey to the land he’ll show me” kind of movements.  The kind of movement I’ve lived before, and the kind that ultimately gave this space its name.

For the last several months I’ve had conversations with friends, I’ve prayed (and begged, and screamed, and cried), and I’ve worked to avoid the growing reality within me.  My heart is being moved to explore Catholicism again.  To really explore it this time. For me.  Not as a means of trying to please someone, but as a way of honoring this space that Jesus seems to have opened in my heart.

Honor is an important word here.  Important enough that it led to the “A Place To Honor the Journey” tagline at the top of this blog.  It’s the word I’ve returned to over and over as I’ve considered whether I was willing to explore Catholicism honestly.  It’s a word that speaks of sacrifice, of commitment, of faithfulness and respect.  It also seems the perfect word for a journey with unknown conclusions.

I’m being called to honor this exploration without knowing where it will lead.  In my more fearful moments I cling to that reminder – that I don’t know where this will lead.  I cling to it in those moments because the worst of my fears centre around this exploration leading to conversion, and since that is not (yet anyway) a foregone conclusion, I remind myself that I don’t need to fear these things just now.  That I simply need to be faithful to the call to leave the place of space in which I’m comfortable, and venture out to see where Jesus leads. And so, slowly, carefully, I’m doing just that.  Some days with more enthusiasm than others.  Some days I just do it scared.  But I’m doing it.

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3 Responses to Honor the Journey

  1. Christianne says:

    Thank you for sharing this space with us.

    I find myself wishing I’d known how impacted you were by that experience of Mass on the day it happened. How special it would have been for us to hold space for you to share about that experience.

    But perhaps, from what you shared here, the depth of that profound movement wasn’t quite known to you on that day. And perhaps, even if it was, it was something for you to hold to yourself for a while, as Jesus used it to percolate something new.

    I’ve been holding the question of this in my heart for you since that August visit. Somehow, I sensed this was on your horizon. Thank you for the chance to listen in on your journey. xo

  2. I love your heart in this, friend. Your openness and vulnerability, your willingness to trust Jesus with the destination even though you have NO IDEA what it is or what it may require of you to follow Him there. Thank you for sharing your heart, for modeling such ruthless trust in the face of so many unknowns and complications. You’re easily one of the bravest people I know. love you.

  3. Lisa says:

    mmm…thanks friends.

    Christianne – I wish I could have expressed the impact of that experience on that day we attended Mass together. How lovely it would have been for you all to hold space for me in that. You’re right in guessing that it took some time of private holding of that moment for even me to begin to understand that it would have more than a momentary impact. In that moment, though, all I knew was that it was the first time I’d attended Mass since all that had happened post Malta, and that somehow, God had met me in that space.

    how interesting that you’ve been holding this for me since August – that you somehow sensed it. I’d love to hear more about that from you.

    And sweet Kirsten – I’m so thankful to have a friend who has walked this route before me. I can’t tell you how grateful I have been for your listening ears and understanding heart as we’ve had those long phone chats that have been part of what has led me to this point.

    so much love to both of you!

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