The Dynamic Tensions of Life by Sister Julie Myers, OSF
The events of life seem to occur at varying speeds. Situations can develop one at a time with low impact upon our daily lives or they can stack up and, well….just clamor for our attention! These events can serve as our teacher if we dare give them our attention to ponder and pray over their meaning. Without reflection, events simply become one happening after another that have no impact upon our life or personal growth. It is only through the gift of reflection that we discover the presence of God and the profound lessons of life.
I just experienced that stacking of events—events that demanded my prayer and reflection! Recently, I gathered with my religious community, the Sylvania Franciscans, to celebrate the 50th, 60th and 75th Jubilee for 11 of our sisters. It was a grand event filled with joy, music, family, camaraderie, laughter and sisterhood. We began Jubilee day with a spirit-filled Liturgy. It was a sacred time to give God thanks and praise for the gift of our sisters and the depth with which they have given life to the Gospel message through their vows. Our Motherhouse chapel was beautifully decorated and the music, singing and joyful celebration filled the air.
Following liturgy, the sisters, family and friends of the Jubilarians made our way over to the Franciscan Center for a deliciously prepared meal that gave great energy to continued conversation and laughter. Moreover, the afternoon continued with family parties and sister gatherings to catch up on each other’s lives and celebrate our oneness.
The joy of Jubilee sustained our spirits allowing us to enter into the next event of our lives. Two days after Jubilee, we gathered as community to mourn the death of our sister, Sister Mary St. Paul. I sat at her Welcoming Service somewhat overwhelmed by the shift of emotion that life was providing within such a short time. I sensed a dynamic tension between Jubilee’s joy and Sister Death’s sadness. For some strange reason that tension provided peace and a sense of hope—and brought me to a profound awareness of God’s presence within it all.
I easily could have allowed these events to come and go without them ever touching my soul. I could have moved on checking emails, texts and simply tending to the daily responsibilities that come and go in life. Besides, life goes on, right? Well, yes, it can; but then we just simply exist and eventually become empty and shallow. Life is filled with lesson, promise and hope—if we only stop to touch the experiences that come and most importantly allow ourselves to be touched by them. It is there that wisdom and grace will fill us and deepen our souls.
How do you live the dynamic tensions of life and allow yourself to be touched by the gift that lies within?