When I was in 8th grade, I fell in love with Christ. Every year following that was romance, beauty and yearning for his battlefields. When I married, my world became smaller. The trials we experienced were pressing and though a part of me still looked out to the larger world, planetal awareness, as Mrs. Lindbergh calls it, my attention was necessarily focused, and is still focused, towards the little world of our family.
I recall the lesson of Mother Teresa. How to change the world? Drop by drop.
I asked a priest once, can one still experience total union with Christ if one is married? He answered, yes, all three of you.
How does it all happen? On a practical level, how does it happen?
We don’t often hear these stories and even if you do, is it ever really enough to fully fit the image into your psyche?
Anne Morrow Lindbergh has painted a picture for me. Shell by shell, step by step, she opened up my awareness to the beauty of alone time, of creative work, of alone-togetherness, of the middle functional period of marriage, and the evolution that takes place so that slowly we become whole persons able to give like we’ve never given before, because we’ve never been so complete. And now what?
Two sections ago I was thinking, these are good things I am working on. I feel so good, so satisfied. Each week I read a little, write a little, do some craft or design. And I feel good. I’m spending more time with my eldest, delighting in her a little more, missing her when she is at my parents’ home for a visit. Then I thought, this is all well and good, but shouldn’t I be working on my spirituality too?
If it feels good, just don’t do it, eh? I’m told that’s an old Irish philosophy. If I feel this happy, I must be missing something, right? (My low self-esteem talking)
Then comes the last section, “The Beach at my Back.” Here are the quotes:
Modern communication loads us up with more problems than the human frame can carry.
It is good, I think, for our hearts, our minds, our imaginations to be stretched; but body, nerve, endurance and life-span are not as elastic. My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.
Can we solve world problems when one is unable to solve one’s own?
If we stop to think about it, are not the real casualties in modern life just these centers I have been discussing: the here, the now, the individual and his relationships.
The here, the now, and the individual, have always been the special concern of the saint, the artist, the poet, and—from time immemorial—the woman. In the small circle of the home she has never quite, forgotten the particular uniqueness of each member of the family.
The path to holiness that I must walk takes into account the world in which I live, a busy, chaotic world, where we are informed nonstop of the plight of others and not just the masses, but human, personal stories of individuals. And it’s painful to bear it.
Start at home. Start with one’s community. We are here given permission to let go a little of the troubles around the world. We are not meant to bear all these crosses.
The feminine genius, according to St. Pope John Paul II, possesses a particular openness to the person. This genius acts as a light to guide mankind back to its center. The ebb and flow of life. We can be go out but must return inward.
Perhaps it feels good precisely because it is right. As Mrs. Lindbergh says, I must take these seashells with me, for me these are these reflections I have written, let them be the eyes of the sea for me, reminders, guide posts of what matters, in order to point me on my way.