"The steps toward maturity, it seems, are always and necessarily immature.
What else could it be?"
Fr. Richard Rohr
Well, this is a whack to my humility!
This growing up business is not for sissies, right? As a 'grown up', I don't think of myself as a child any more. Yet, to continue the journey of growing, there is an underlying reality of immaturity. (This is a reality I frequently try to deny.) For something to grow, it must start small, like a seed. For growth to occur, there is a process. Begin with something small, provide the necessary environment and nutrition, be willing to enter in to that environment and accept that nutrition, and subsequently suffer the necessary growing pains.
But, the story doesn't end with growing pains, the story continues to the joy of bearing fruit. Hmmmmm! What is your favorite fruit? Mine is dark chocolate. OK, I'll put it over strawberries just to include a more traditional fruit.
The older I get, the more I realize that I am still growing up. There is 'necessarily' an ongoing, internal dissatisfaction with being stagnant. While there is a need to enjoy the fruits of our growth - of our labor - each experience of joy is a preparation for the next cycle of life, the next growth spurt. The story will and must continue.
Have you given much thought to our recent discussions of chastity? When that topic was suggested, I had immediate flash backs to my adolescence. Wow! There was a time of immaturity. This is an issue that really sticks in my tissues, with a painful jab. In the past weeks, I have experienced the growth cycle several times. Even now, with the fifth consecutive week of this topic, I am keenly mindful of the depth of suffering that is leading to the growing pains on this path for me. Simultaneously, as Ann and I near our 49th wedding anniversary, there is a tremendous peace and grace that surrounds the essence of who we have become and who we are becoming as our intimacy, our chastity expands. While we are becoming one flesh, we are also becoming one mind and one spirit.
Here is the crazy part: While this oneness is growing, we are also becoming stronger individuals. Don't ask me to explain that process. I'll leave it in the realm of mystery and simply enjoy these fruits.
There is no easy way to live the process, from knowing the seed, accepting the environment and nutrition, practicing the patience and courage needed to embrace the growing pains, and finally practicing the humility of bearing fruit. The hope is found in the ultimate process of healing. It is in this hope that we are able to embrace the next chapter of the story.
The story continues as we embrace the fruits of chastity: knowing the beauty behind our sags and wrinkles; experimenting with waning levels of energy; being overwhelmed with grace and awe in the presence of adult children and grandchildren; being content in the face of mortality; and growing in gratitude for the many, many people who have been in our environment and our sources of nutrition.
We both truly appreciate and cherish our times beside the restful waters.