I’ve been continuing along in the online spiritual exercises. I’ve fallen a bit behind on the schedule. My director affirms this is acceptable, for the weeks when insights come slowly or my resistance is strong or when something good on the journey seems to suggest I stay an extra day or two.
I was initially skeptical about the online experience. A retreat has to be in-person, I thought. I’ve changed my mind. It’s not quite the same as going away for thirty, or even just eight days. But I find it has a deep impact on my life.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I have little desire to read outside of the Bible or the exercises these last few months. Two novels since September–that’s pretty sparse for me. I sent another four or five books back to the library–they just had no appeal at this time.
The other thing I can report is that I’ve been having difficulty with something I usually find quite easy and fruitful: visualizing myself in the stories of the Bible. Or crazy things happening, like when I was walking with Mary through the “hill country” to visit Elizabeth, it became difficult rocky inclines. How could that little girl skip so easily over boulders and up sheer cliffs?
I was grateful to get word that my two grant applications for my sabbatical were both approved. I’m very grateful to the archdiocese and to the endowment committee and my pastor for this. I have to re-apply each year. But maybe before my sixtieth birthday, I’ll have a degree in Christian Spirituality. Seems strange to be gearing up for new horizons in ministry just when many of my friends are starting to think about retirement.
I dreamed I went off to school next summer, decided to add a third course in music (not even in the plan, for waking life) and I had gone through almost two weeks of classes and I had forgotten to go to class for that third course. That was my recurring nightmare as an undergrad. I never had it as a grad student. Curious that it pops up now. It was actually more funny than stressful.