Are you walking your journey looking through the rear view mirror?

Do you often feel like you get drawn back into your past?  Perhaps, you go back to relive a very happy moment?  May be, you haven’t healed from an event in your past and you go back wondering what went wrong, you ask a bunch of what if’s or you just can’t move forward because of the pain?

Why does the past often seem so attractive? Can we relive an exact moment in our past, re-create it?

Our past is never meant to be re-created.  In fact, it never can be.  Even if I walk the same path today as I did yesterday, my foot prints will be different, my thoughts will not be exactly the same and the environment around me will be slightly different, even though it is the same path as yesterday.  No matter, where or how we walked the journey yesterday, we are meant to always be in the present moment.

person on a bridge near a lake

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So, why does God give us this capacity to remember the journey we have already traveled?

I think He does so to reveal moments of joy and happiness and moments of sadness and pain to aid us in the present moment.  They either will help us through a learning experience or they will bring a smile in the moment when we need it.

Sometimes, I think in my own personal life, I feel I get sucked back into my past through current circumstances. I have two choices in those moments. I can either allow myself to be sucked into a place that no longer exist or I can choose to move forward in the present moment by choosing to deal with the circumstance through the grace of all things God has provided in that moment to aid me to continue the path forward, only looking back to learn how to best proceed.

Then there are memories in my past I cherish, memories that bring pure joy. Being a mom of two beautiful young ladies, I cherish the memories I have of their childhood, the moments they brought laughter to my day by their actions and words, the moments when they made their first accomplishments as they grew into the the young ladies they are today. I also embrace the memories of those who have gone before me or who have provided me with great wisdom and love through my childhood and young adult life. These memories are things I can look back on and be filled with joy and also learn from as I embrace the current moment.

As I reflect on my own journey, God provides these memories to me for a purpose and that purpose is not for me to try to relive the moment or to go back and stay in the past.  He gives them to me to learn from them, to rejoice in them, to strengthen me and remind me of all the gifts He has provided for me in the journey.

If we try to drive looking through the rear view mirror, we will never move forward and reach our ultimate destination.  The rear view mirror is there to help us journey forward by seeing what is behind us and using that to make the best decision to maneuver as we travel the road ahead in the present moment, where God is, providing the ultimate compass of guidance.

Are you walking your journey looking through the rear view mirror or are you using it to aid you as you maneuver the challenges of life?

Traveling together, a journey with one focus

“Just as the wise men traveled together to find Jesus in the manger, so we travel together to find Jesus born in our souls.”  Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction, Alice Fryling

Have you encountered a companion along your journey that has helped you grow in your relationship with God, perhaps in the form of a friend, a spouse, a mentor, or a guide?  Have you encountered companions that seem to draw you further from God?  Which one brings you life?

I have had many companions in my short life.  Some have taught me about life, love and faith, some have comforted me, some have inflicted pain and some have guided me.  They all have one thing in common, the journey they accompanied me on was headed to one final destination.  My journey has been a walk through the valley, the desert, the mountainous terrain, along the beautiful springs rushing by and through the fields of a thousand flowers.  I have swam the depths of the ocean and soared on the wings of eagles.  All the while being accompanied by others to a destination in my heart to find Jesus waiting for me.  In the pain and in the joy, in the hardships and in the simplicity of life, there has always been one compass pointing to one direction.  The beauty of it all was that my companions helped me to see this path forward, whether they intended or not.

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There are going to be positive guides and companions in my life, spiritual friendships and mentors.  There will also be negative companions that will rip at my spirit, test my strength and weaknesses and prey on my vulnerabilities.  At the end of each day, it is I who am the one discerning the path to take to reach my destination.  When I don’t have my eyes focused on Jesus, I will miss the path to take.  I will wander off onto a path that is lonely and treacherous.  I will have no companion and I will only seek the desires of my self will.  This is when I find myself broken and damaged, depressed and forgotten, hopeless and in disparity.  I will find myself needing companionship to be alive, to continue along my journey.  When I see myself in such a desolate state, it is imperative that I seek companionship.

In the book the “Inner Compass,” Margaret Silf draws on a unique perspective of companionship and our need for others in guiding us to our final destination.  In 1 Kings 19:19, Elijah sees Elisha and when “he came to Elisha son of Shaphat as he was plowing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself with the twelfth, Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him.”  What she goes on to describe is the act of plowing a furrow, “your furrow of life.”  Ahead of you, you have 11 oxen, helping you carry the load and keep your eye on the focal point so that you stay on a straight path as you plow.  You are not alone in your journey, you have companions that will help guide you and keep you focused on the destination, Jesus.  We all have a story to tell along our journey, our faith share.  It is in this story, that we see our 11 oxens, our companions that help keep us focused on Jesus.  Perhaps, a few of these companions may be your anamchara, Celtic for “soul friend”.   We also see those that help us become stronger in our faith because of the trials we endure.  In all circumstance it is you and I that are the ones making the choices that mold our story into a faith share that only we can claim.

Are you going to allow others to travel with you “to find Jesus born in [your] soul?”   Are you going to allow them to help you companion with you to keep your eyes on the focal point, Jesus?  He is the destination and the ultimate companion, but He gives you others in your life to let you know you are not alone.  He speaks to your heart through them as they guide you, mentor you, keep you grounded in His love for you.  Have you thought about who are your 11 oxens, who are your “soul friends”?

Have you been kissed by God or heard His heartbeat?

“There is an ancient legend that holds that when an infant is created, God kisses its soul and sings to it.  The legend says God’s kiss and His song, as well as the song of the angel, remain in that soul forever – to be called up, cherished, shared and to become the basis of all our songs.  But to feel that kiss, to hear that song, requires solitude…. The sound of God’s heartbeat is audible only in a certain solitude and in the gentleness it brings.”  Prayer Our Deepest Longing

Have you been kissed by God lately?  Have you heard Him tell you He loves you lately?  Have you sat intimately with Him, allowing His embrace so that you could hear His heartbeat.

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I think the quote from the book “Prayer Our Deepest Longing” is such a beautiful image of the love of God as our creator and how intimate His relationship has been with us from the time we were formed.

Today, as I contemplated that image in the solitude of my heart, I realized that not only do I long and desire this intimate relationship with God but I also long and desire it with my earthly relationships.  I realize that no one  on this earth can possess the unconditional love God has for me but I also recognize that there are people in my life that imitate this intimacy of God through Christ in them.

As I have matured in my life and embraced my journey with Christ, I realize how important each person in my life is.  Discerning my friendships and those that help guide my direction in my life has become very important.  When a doctor performs surgery or any procedure for that matter, he has a set of instruments that are necessary to do the task that he needs to accomplish.  The same is the case with an orchestra.  To play a certain melody that resonates beautiful sound, the orchestra has to have certain instruments that precisely play certain notes at particular times.  I think our friendships and other relationships are instruments in our lives that help guide us in directions that resonate with the very heartbeat of God and “His song” in us.  Perhaps, it is in our solitude that we can truly hear the sound of His heartbeat, hear that song and embrace His kiss.

In my life, discerning the relationships that are healthy, the instruments in my journey, has been critical for me to ascend to this summit of solitude where I can lay on the chest of my Lord and hear His heartbeat and embrace His kiss.

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After reading the excerpt of this ancient legend in “Prayer Our Deepest Longing,” I know that His song and His kisses that remain in my soul have been called up, cherished and shared in the intimacy of my dear brothers and sisters I have connected with in my walk with God.  Each of my sisters and brothers are the instruments in the song God played for me during my creation as His beautiful daughter.  And each of your brothers and sisters that are in your life guiding you along your journey with Christ are the instruments in the orchestra God created just for you to hear His harmonious heartbeat in the beautiful song they play.  Embrace your sisters and brothers that guide you closer to God along your faith journey.  Share the kiss of the Lord with each of them.