A visit this past weekend with a good friend in New York City provided us a chance to do some writing together in the New York Public Library Reading Room. We may not see one another for awhile since she will be living in Chile come September. She is preparing to launch into a further stage of her formation in religious life. We sat outside the library after our hour writing and read aloud what the other had written. Here is part of what I wrote and what Kate got to read aloud:
Here in New York for the first time since February 2008, I have the chance to be with a friend and experience the rhythms of friendship. Writing, reading, walking, praying, talking – the pleasures of this weekend with Kate are shared pleasures. The ease of that sharing is what this year ahead of me will call for and look for again and again. I may have changed the landscape of my life a year ago, but the transition continues. Facing the challenges and gifts of that time of transition will be easier with friends like Kate telling me about their lives, writing and reading what we each write, acknowledging the pleasures that make our days the ones we want, recognizing in how the other negotiates days and weeks and months a support and an inspiration at times when we need both.
“When we are ready” – that was the focus of the presider’s reflection at the Mass today. Discernment is that key notion in my thirty years living in New England. It can seem strange at times to admit that it is a process essential to living my life even now in my late fifties.
Shouldn’t this be done now – this attending to the movement of the Spirit, this weighing of the good available in taking certain steps and certain paths?
I consider someone like Kate in her late thirties and imagine what the final months of formation ahead of her may confirm, may reveal, may initiate.
“When we are ready” – Kate and I can welcome the chance to play a role in one another’s lives. What those lives can look like in a month’s time is probably very different from what they will look like in a year’s time. Decisions that either of us may be impatient to make, to implement, to move forward with may still not be the decisions we are able to make or ready to act on.
It might be enviable at times to be planning a wedding the way my colleague Kim and her fiancé Ted have been the past few months. No one would want to imagine a friend taking such an important step until he or she is ready.
Kate and I are each of us aware that a life choice is before us. Changing anything about our lives will not be hurried if we are moving by our best lights.
Wisely and slowly…