• Maggie Winfrey

Where Are We?


The closer we come to feeling lost, the clearer we can hear God’s “still small voice” that Elijah heard at his lowest point.

“Where are we, Dee?” I asked my dad. “I’m sitting up here on this old railroad track,” he responded. We were actually in the Emergency Room surrounded by a sea of curtains waiting for the doctor. Dee’s health was deteriorating from pneumonia and TIA stroke-caused dementia. His incoherent ramblings prompted me to ask him the question. He felt alone and abandoned even though I was with him.


The closer we come to feeling lost, the clearer we can hear God’s “still small voice” that Elijah heard at his lowest point. [1] We are precisely in a graced place when we feel powerless. Thomas Keating values this most:

Powerlessness is our greatest treasure. Don’t try to get rid of it. Grace is sufficient for you, but not something you can understand…you don’t know how valuable [our difficulties] are from God’s perspective, for without them you might never be transformed as deeply and as thoroughly…[2]


We do not suffer alone. Jesus reminds us “I will not leave you orphans.” [3] The psalmist asks, “Where can I run from your love?” [4] We are deeply loved and invited to a deeper relationship with God in everything about our lives, especially in challenging times. Thomas Keating explains

The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from Him. If we get rid of that thought, our troubles will be greatly reduced. [5]


We find our true self when we welcome God to draw near and share everything in our life, especially all of our suffering. Fr. Thomas clarifies:

…it is Jesus in us and as us who is suffering everything. He is living our lives all the time if we consent to be who we really are. [6]


Centering Prayer is our way through. Fr. Thomas tells how:

Centering Prayer activates an existential relationship with Christ as one way of receiving the fullness of unconditional love pouring out of the depth of the Trinity into creation. As we sit in Centering Prayer, we are connecting with that immense flow of divine life within us. It is as if our spiritual will turned on a switch, and the current (the divine life) that is present in our organism starts to flow. [7]


Where are we? We are not lost up on some old railroad track. We are right here with our Beloved, closer than we know. For “Creator’s blessing rests on the ones who walk a trail of tears, for he will wipe the tears from their eyes and comfort them.”[8] Let us welcome Love’s Presence completely into every part of our lives, especially when we are feeling abandoned.


 

Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger, Unsplash

[1] 1 Kings 19:11-13

[2] Thomas Keating, Reflections on the Unknowable, New York: Lantern Books, 2014, 156

[3] John 14:18

[4] Psalm 139

[5] Thomas Keating Open Mind, Open Heart, London: Bloomsbury Continuum, 1986, 33

[6] Reflections,67

[7] Reflections, 151-2

[8] Matthew 5:4, First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament, Downers Grove, IL: Rain Ministries, Inc., InterVarsity Press, 2021

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