When I think about my “wisdom journey,” I often refer to 2003 as a beginning point, but it would be sad to think that I began my search for God at that late moment in my life. I was already 55 years old then. (Of note, however, is the fact that “5” is a significant number for change in numerology.) That year is significant because it signaled the beginning of a disciplined study of the wisdom tradition of Christianity under the tutelage of a teacher—Cynthia Bourgeault. It was a “jumpstart” to a new chapter in my life as it focused my prayer and religious studies to enable a deeper dive into spirituality.
I will always be grateful , not only for Cynthia, but for all the people I have met and the work I have been privileged to be part of over these last 18 years.
I don’t mean to sound like I am finished learning or going into retirement—not yet! What has precipitated this reflection is actually the first lectionary reading for today, from the Hebrew Scriptures book of Sirach. Here are the lines:
“When I was young and innocent, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer. I prayed for her before the temple and I will seek her until the end, and she flourished as a grape soon ripe. My heart delighted in her; my feet kept to the level path because from earliest youth I was familiar with her…”
As I look back over my life, I recognize—not for the first time—that the desire for God was always in me and all my experiences and lessons were important to the growth and deepening of that desire, until I was ready to act more directly on it. At that point, I trust that God said something like: “YOU GO, GIRL!” and then provided everything I needed to proceed. I have often heard that “when the student is ready the teacher appears.” I know that to be true in my life but not just when the lifelong lessons “appear”—but all along the way from all the sources of grace—people and experiences—that spark the fire that is the Holy Spirit inside.
Can you plot the workings of God in your life? Are there touch points when you suddenly—or not so suddenly—understood something important happening for your growth? Do you ask in prayer for understanding of the events and place of people in your life? And what is the place of gratitude in your prayer? Worthy questions, don’t you think?