“Why do I stand mute when my voice could make a difference?”
Sr. Susan Kusz
I spent this past weekend on a silent 12 step retreat. What a treat!
The presence of my Higher Power!
The presence of healing!
This question from Sr. Susan came to me after this retreat experience. It is no coincidence that I spent time in Spiritual direction with my personal judgement of not doing enough. So, as this question comes to me, I don’t have a sense of shame and weakness that I may have experienced otherwise.
As part of my step 10 practice (continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.), I try to end my day with an examination of the day. I used to avoid the pain of this practice because it seemed to be a time of self-abuse. I would identify the shortcomings of the day and experience shame and anger. Often I would ask myself why I should even bother trying. It seemed as though I could never get it right.
You might recognize, as I have, my desire for perfection. As this practice has continued, I am slowly accepting the love of my Higher Power, my God, in the moment. I am recognizing that my God is not expecting my perfection. This weekend, I spent time looking at the people who God has chosen to bring forgiveness, peace and joy to the world. The saints and sages from the past, and those in our present (including you and me), we are not perfect yet we are a source of joy, peace, healing, and forgiveness. Whew!
When my desire for perfection prevails, my voice is mute. I refuse to speak my heart out of fear and shame. Why would anyone listen to me?
As I ponder this question, I examine my motives:
Am I simply trying to get my point across?
Am I trying to fix you?
Am I after retribution?
Am I afraid that you will disagree, and I won’t be seen as a nice person?
There is evidence that my voice has made a difference. When I examine this evidence, I observe my surprise at the situation. I recognize that I had no intended motive behind the expression of my thoughts. In other words, I was simply speaking from my heart.
Why is this so startling to me?
I am returning to a point recently discussed: Simplicity!
I don’t have to be on the front lines in North Dakota, or in the mission fields abroad. I simply need to continue to practice being present, with you, with myself, with our God.
I return to a growing state of gratitude.
I am accepted, warts and all.
We are in this together.
Our God is not experienced in the past or the future. Only now.
I’ll take a deep breath.
This is a place of rest.