I don’t know how it was for you growing up, but something I was always aware of was the retreat high or the honeymoon period that follows after an intense religious or spiritual experience.
I don’t think I realized that I’d been on a high for the last few weeks until I stopped feeling like I could overcome any obstacle that came my way (<– that probably should have been a clue in and of itself, haha).
My patience was limitless. I wasn’t mindlessly scrolling through social media. It didn’t feel like such an effort when I chose to actively engage with my kids and whatever they were interested in.
The biggest change after I had finished the Ignatian spiritual exercises over Lent was that I was waking up early every morning to light a candle and do the Examen.
And then earlier this week, everything just felt so much harder. Like I was human again, frankly.
My kids were irritating me. I was snapping at my husband. And I started having the hardest time staying motivated to write. I kept experiencing what it says in the version of the Examen I use, being swept away in un-freedom.
And yet, in the midst of all of that, I still continue to wake up early every morning to light a candle and do the Examen.
It got me thinking about the meaning of grace and Whose it is to give. I think a younger version of me would have asked, What did I do wrong? I think I would have been frustrated that even though I was doing everything “right,” I was showing up to pray like I had been for the past month or so, and yet why did it seem like it wasn’t working anymore?
I wonder how many of us have fallen into the trap of trying to control God, treating God like a genie, as if it were in our power to elicit the response that we desire or seek. That we demand grace as if it’s owed to us whenever we follow the rules or do everything perfectly. I know I have.
What I do know is that, regardless of how I feel, God is faithful, and that I want to respond with faithfulness.
And so, if God is asking me to continue to show up every morning to light that candle, that’s what I’ll do.