In my purse I carry a little black notebook that I call the waiting journal. I call it that because I usually only write in it when I am waiting for something. Lots of entries while waiting to pick up my children at the end of the school day. A few from the registry of motor vehicles. Dentist's office. Airport. Train station. Mechanics.
The entries always begin:
because the whole book is a series of letters to God.
I have kept this journal for the last 3 years or so, and am getting down to the last few pages of the notebook. So it seemed appropriate to get it out a write a little last night, as I watched and waited with Jesus at the Vigil of the Altar of Repose.
But then, I started reading it from the beginning. I only made it about a third of the way through it, but even that was kind of a revelation. Themes emerged in my relationship with God. The little cat and mouse that we seem to play is a regular theme. Consolations one week, dry desert the next. I bemoan it throughout the book, even as I know that it is part of the deal. My laziness at spiritual practice gets mentioned a lot. This week I forgot to pray the psalms, or centering prayer, or the daily office or whatever I happen to be doing at the time. I comment on it a lot.
The heady love affair with God is a constant theme, too. Anyone who didn't know who Beloved was might think I was writing to a lover. It is just as gooshy. And twice as embarrassing to reread. But I am made breathless by the intensity that comes across the pages. This relic of my relationship with God is a powerful testament not only to the miracle of my conversion, but also the the seasoning, the gentle aging of the relationship. I am less breathless, now. I am not given the same kinds of spiritual consolations I experienced early on. And yet, like a good marriage, the relationship is maturing.
Finally, there are many many entries about my spiritual teachers. Fr. P in particular crops up constantly. But others, too. People who have guided me on this journey. People who have walked with me on this path. I am humbled by the generosity that people have shown with their time and love.