In the 18 years since I graduated from high school, computers have come out of the labs and into my home. I have instant access to my family, friends, and a world of information, all at my fingertips. In the time it takes to brew my evening cup of tea, I can search through several hundred images on Google related to any blog topic. My cell phone is also equipped with email and text messaging. I am never out of touch anymore. There is no waiting by the phone. The phone is always with me.
My calendar has exploded in the past two years due in part to my separation and subsequent divorce. I have rediscovered my freedom and at the same time a deep need to connect with a support system. At the moment, I am part of seven different ministry teams between the parish and school. In addition to that, I have taken on leadership roles in at least two of those. This does not include the time spent writing for this blog, writing my spiritual memoir, my spiritual direction sessions, therapy for myself, therapy for my two sons, nor does it include the time I spend working and being a mom, walking the beach to have some moments solitude and checking my Facebook or exchanging emails each night with close friends.
As life continually speeds up in the world around me, I feel compelled to try to keep up. The speed of it all is scary at times. My days start at 6:30 a.m. and often end some time after midnight. My spiritual director, Deacon Ron, has ordered me into stillness for 30 minutes a day, every day. That was several months ago and while I have gratefully managed to work that time into my schedule, I am still in constant motion for the rest of my waking hours. I wonder – does God want me to move at this pace? Or does He want me to slow down? Am I missing important things because I am so over busy? Too often I’m left struggling to answer Deacon Ron’s favorite question for me – “Where’s God in all this?”
I have to ask myself – What happens to my relationship with the Almighty when God doesn’t move at the speed of life to which I have become accustomed? What happens to my faith in this era of the immediate? Surely the desire for God is no less, but what of patience and trust? The need for instant answers can lead to anxiety and feelings of abandonment when that instant answer fails to arrive in my inbox.
One of my greatest struggles in my spiritual life is accepting that just because God didn’t answer me directly doesn’t mean He isn’t speaking to me. Just because the answer didn’t come right after I asked the question doesn’t mean that the answer is never going to come. Especially when I ask for direction I often find myself craving an Instant Message from On High, the Divine Chat Room, and the Eternal Email.
Then I have to ask, what if…? What if God told me tomorrow that He wanted me to write a book series on the spiritual struggles of Gen-X in contrast to the lives of seven different saints whose lives I have never studied? Then the next day He told me that, in addition, He wanted me to give witness talks to those who have faced the fear of God’s abandonment. And what if He continually added to my to-do list daily without reprieve? Would I be overwhelmed, perhaps even frightened by all He was asking of me.
The direction and answers may be slow in coming, but when they do finally come I need to take the time to savor and absorb it all. Patience is a virtue, I’m told. Unfortunately, it has never been one of mine. My prayer life is one long hard lesson in patience, but it’s a lesson I am determined to learn. I just wish I could Google it.