All the ingredients were there for a splendid time of reflection, worship, and prayer. A beautiful unseasonably warm day, new blossoms, and a perfect metaphor for life: A Prayer Labyrinth.
It didn’t help.
I felt restless and distracted. Yes, I could appreciate the goodness surrounding me. I could also grasp the spiritual significance of the nearby metaphors and analogies. Yet, I didn’t have a time of felt connection with God. The word “dud” comes to mind. I didn’t get the experience I thought I would; and it all seemed ordinary and uninspired.
Here are some images I took during my time there. You have to admit, it was a delightful scene.
What this means:
Just a few thoughts…maybe you have some ideas too.
If God is a person (…is a Being, not just an impersonal Force, but rather has a personality, and is capable of relationship), then I really can’t expect God to follow a predictable formula like he is a math equation.
My other relationships function in a similar way. They aren’t clear cut and palpable. They are more opaque and protean. I wonder if God switches things up precisely so we don’t depersonalize him, (among other reasons, I’m sure).
In biblical narrative this rings true. The Hebrews are rescued by God in a different manner almost each time. Sometimes it was pitchers smashing that started the process, other times horns and shouting. Sometimes it was just typical military tactics.
I was okay with the fact that the spiritually nourishing experience I had at the Jesuit Retreat Center was nothing like my (seeming) dud of a prayer experience this time. In the past it might have felt like abandonment. I might have seconded guessed myself, or my God. I see the nuances now, perhaps. I can still believe God is there, and God is good, even when I don’t sense God’s presence. It would be the same way with a dear friend, or my spouse. If I had a blah sort of time with a friend, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the friendship didn’t exist. If I didn’t sense my husband was in the house, I wouldn’t assume we weren’t married.
When was a time when God didn’t show up when you thought God would?
Here’s a previous post explaining a prayer labyrinth. Have you ever used one?