By Kristeen Bruun
I am a widow. I did not get to live the life that my husband and I had planned to live together.
My parents have been dead for years.
My son is grown and has a rich and demanding life of his own.
I retired from my day job a couple of months ago.
That was two weeks before Holy Week. One of my volunteer commitments is to act as liturgy assistant during the high seasons, so I went from my day job to managing the details of Holy Week. When people asked me, “How’s retirement?” I laughed and told them, “When I retire, I’ll let you know.”
Holy Week really is a full time job. It’s over now. We are relaxing into the joy of the Easter season. The pastor wrote me a thank-you card.
Then I had to file my taxes – lots of digging to assemble the materials – and then my granddaughter came for an extended weekend. She went home yesterday.
When I returned from the airport, the quiet hit me. This morning I looked around at the mess a visit leaves behind, along with memories of places we went and adventures we shared, and I realized, I am alone now.
All my life, I’ve heard voices that gave me direction. Granted, I did not always listen to them! But they were there, and there was comfort in that; some structure created by the demands of family and work. I walked the tightrope, balancing multiple demands along with my own desires. I am blessed with friends and with an in-depth relationship with my church community, but those voices do not speak with the same level of intensity.
There is only one voice left.
“Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty.”
I am not sure how to listen to the One Voice, and I am somewhat afraid of what I will hear.
When I was looking forward to this phase of my life, my friends and I emphasized the freedom that was created by letting go. I thought I had it all planned! I did not spend much time thinking about what it would mean to listen to the One Voice.
Recently, trying to describe my sense of confusion to my pastor, I said, “Trying to be your own spiritual director is like trying to take out your own appendix.”
My pastor suggested I go on retreat, to seek the God who speaks in silence. I’ll do that, of course; but my retreat won’t happen until June.
In the meantime, I am praying, “Come, Holy Spirit,” and using the book with the same title that just happened to be delivered to my door a couple of days ago. How amazing that God knew that it was just what I needed at this phase of my seeking life!
Because (I admit it) I didn’t order the book because I knew I needed it; I ordered it out of a sense of friendship. (My friend writes a book, of course I will buy it, even if it ends up gathering dust in the corner.) But it turns out to be just what I need right now!
Come, Holy Spirit,
help me to incline my ear,
consider the One Voice,
and leave it all behind
to follow where you lead me.