Friday, October 31, 2008

Today I Received an Icon

Clearly, this is one of the most magnificent things that I have ever received in my life.  I was awestruck when I received it.

There was a note that accompanied the gift, so I already knew what I was going to receive.  It was an icon, prepared by a person who was praying for me, among others, while he was making it.

The most familiar icon to Filipinos is that of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  Icons are largely from the Orthodox or Eastern Christianity, but to a certain extent it is allowed for Roman Catholics (read more here).  

This looks like the icon that was given to me:

What a lovely way to end my day, to pray with gratitude and trust that all shall be well.  This is another reminder for me about the depth and the breadth of God's Love, that He sometimes sends through human messengers.

I am loved by God.  And I bask in it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is It!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. - Psalm 118:24, ESV

I reflected on this verse during prayer time this morning to prepare my heart for this day. I had known for several months that a dearest friend already bought his ticket out of the Philippines for October 30, but somehow my heart still did not learn to cooperate.

God had revealed to me in prayer that He had great plans for my friend, and there was much reason to rejoice and be glad. For my friend was coming home, where his community, family, and ministry were waiting for him. He had done a good job as God's servant and missionary for almost six years on this to him a foreign land, with a culture he could not fully accustom to, a language he could not fluently speak, and a diet he could not happily relate to.

I should be happy for Fr. Geoffrey Coombe, mgl for he had so much in store for him back in Australia. Fr. Brian texted me yesterday that Fr. Geoffrey was packing already and asked me, "Why is he doing this to us?" Fr. Brian and I then planned to sob together during the final despedida last night. He would miss his brother and friend. I would miss my spiritual director and friend.

I texted back to Fr. Brian about Fr. Geoffrey's leaving. I said, "I think God is doing this to us." He replied with a chuckle that this was one of the times he could truly say that God's ways were not our ways.

For this parting was painful, but necessary. Even if we knew that we would survive. Fr. Steve would find more hands to help him in the parish. Fr. Brian would assimilate more into Filipino culture. The young people would find new mentors. Ella would learn new things from her new spiritual directress. Fr. Geoff had to leave, most likely, for all of these to bear more fruit.

Still, for today, I am experiencing the pains of parting. At least I have said all that I wanted to say, and done all that I had wanted to do, to show my appreciation for this wonderful gift of a person. I have given him a bone-crunching hug and bought a gift he could use for his studies and his ministry. I have spent quality time with him at every opportunity and, together with my family, have given a special send-off piano recital for him.

I could also tell from the series of send-off parties that he had given all that he could to this country. Among the many fruits he would be leaving behind were my family's return to performing classical music, the Knights of the Altar's greater appreciation of their service as to God and not to men, the livelihood project, Carlite ministry, PowerPoint presentations on Youth Alpha and Catholic Apologetics, sports as part of spiritual health for Christians of all ages, and all the expressions of art in his faith and his ministry.

Instead of crying all day, I will be grateful to have been cared for spiritually and loved by a rare and special priest. I have to let him go so that more people will be blessed by him.

So I am a bit emotional today. It comes with honesty and freedom, and in loving God with all that I am.

To all who, like me, are sad today because of this leaving, I hope we could all rejoice at what God will do in us and through us because of this.

Bon Voyage, Fr Geoff. See you soon. God bless.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walking the Same Path, This Time with Wonder

Going through a retreat within the context of my usual daily life is an arduous task akin to climbing a mountain. I embarked on the journey thinking I had brought just enough supplies but after reaching only a short distance, I felt the heaviness of my load and needed to stop to catch my breath. I had to take these stops frequently, until I realized that I had overpacked as usual and would have to let go of some of the "essentials" I could not start the journey without.

After unloading some heavyweights that I did not need, my steps became quicker and the climb took off. Due to my haste, however, I slipped and slid, and found myself back to a place I had stopped to visit before. It was getting dark and I was scared.

And then I saw that there, standing beside a small fire, was Jesus, waiting for me. I put down my backpack and rushed to His embrace, and He quieted down my sobs and asked me to tell Him everything about my journey. At that moment, I saw that nothing was wasted - neither the precious things I threw down the mountain to ease my aching back nor the time it would take for me to re-take the steps I had already taken before, because I was learning a new form of prayer, a prayer of deepening and enrichment.

I was introduced to the Ignatian review process of "repetition".

Repetition is a method of returning to those points where I have experienced "greater consolation, desolation or greater spiritual appreciation". I look for a movement of inner connectedness, or fear or anxiety, and I return to these moments for fruit.

It is not repeating the material for prayer as I repeat a study assignment for thorough understanding. It does not mean that I have to do it again because I did not get it the first time.

By means of Ignatian repetition, I am being invited to go to greater depth in a mystery I have already contemplated or a truth I have considered. It is a matter of focusing.

During last night's session with my Spiritual Directress, she confirmed that I was getting a firmer hold of myself, that despite the highs and lows of the past week, I was able to focus more on God and how He is moving in my life. I was again seeing the inner connectedness of my daily life through the eyes of my retreat. I had to recognize that it was through the choices that I made that I had reached that point - that I was open and vulnerable to the Spirit.

She said that the gifts of the Holy Spirit came in bunches, and it would be good to return to my past month for a greater recognition of those gifts, and a deepening of my response.

Last Week's Theme was spiritual freedom - which was something I gained when I was seized completely by the love of God that all the desires of my heart and all the actions, affections, thoughts, and decisions which flowed from them were directed to God my Father and His service and praise.

In order to achieve this, the grace I begged for was a deep sense of appreciation of what it meant to be a human being created in God's image and likeness and called in freedom to become fully human, fully alive, and unique like Jesus Christ.

After the past week, I saw what hindered me from accepting that I was at the center of God's creation (cf. Psalm 8). I had already dulled myself into thinking that God loved me in a generic way, as in love for all mankind, and not in a personal, particular way (cf. Psalm 139) and that He did not care what I did with my life.

I saw that He gave me unique gifts and that He loved me personally. He answered my prayers daily. He listened when nobody else did. He sent me beautiful people to love and be loved by. And when someone I loved deeply said something that hurt me again, He was there to hold me tight and to assure me that there would be better days.

Loving God in this way certainly requires much openness and vulnerability. Instead of being a glob of emotions like I was before, or, on the other extreme, a dull, lifeless mannequin going through the motions of daily life, I saw how I could reach some balance between the tempestuous waves of emotion I was experiencing and the calming shores of God's love that were available for me.

I trudge on, seeing my journey through new eyes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Virtual Thank You

Typical. Something astounding happens and I have writer's block. But this piece has to be written. I've poured frustrations and heartaches in this blog, so now I think my God deserves some credit for the wonderful blessings He has bestowed upon me and my family.

Last Saturday, four members of my family performed in a piano recital held in our living room as a special gift for our priest-friend who is going back to his homeland after six years of mission in the Philippines. Eight people aside from our family were invited. My siblings watched us online from three countries (more like continents) - Australia, US, and Germany.

It was a spectacular, fantastic, and intimate night, a celebration of music, family, and friendship. This post will not do the event justice, I am sure of it, but it needs an entry here, after all that's been said and done here through the years.

It all started when I asked Fr. Geoffrey what gift I could give him for taking good care of me pastorally for the past four years. A few weeks later, he told me that he had given it some thought and he wanted a piano recital, with me performing. I laughed at his ridiculous idea, and even told my mother about it.

My mother, THE piano teacher, asked me, "Why not? Why don't I play for him too? I will ask your nephews if they want to join."

Now, my mother had been teaching piano for almost 44 years, but had not herself performed publicly after graduation, except for the occasional duet with a student, due to the rigors of raising five children. Instead, she concentrated on teaching her students and preparing them for their annual recital. Last year, she slowed down and became semi-retired. Thus, with more time on her hands, she was able to review her pieces from when she was at the Conservatory of Music. She also read somewhere that playing the piano helped to avoid Alzheimer's disease. With Mama's playing, we could tell she was in no danger of contracting the disease.

My nephews, as blog readers would remember, are gifted children. Videos of their recitals have received thousands of visitors on YouTube. They are multi-talented and handsome, and anything that they do would be much appreciated.

I was the weakest link, being out of shape and out of practice for more than a decade. BUT I was the link, and I knew I had to play my part. With barely three months to prepare, I reluctantly chose four pieces I could play decently and practiced as much as I could, given work and other responsibilities and excuses.

I grew to enjoy the preparation, nerve-wracking though it was. My parents and I made up a very short guest list. Together with my brother and sister-in-law, we planned the little party's details, adding our signature touch to everything from the Programme to the live webcast. I particularly loved practicing a Mozart symphony arranged in four hands, with my mother.

As the date drew closer, I was as excited as a kid who prepared a surprise for her dad on Father's Day. I gave the guests, and the guest of honor, hints as to what was ahead, but could not reveal everything lest they raise their expectations. It was better for them to think that they would politely sit through a family's puny efforts at entertaining, than to look for world-class performances from a tiny living room.

I was looking forward to the night because I wanted to listen to my Mom's playing, and wanted to see other peoples' reaction to it. She was our family's secret treasure, and it was high time that her gift was shared to others. At 66 years old, my mother could still play brilliantly. She chose pieces we grew up with, and so it was like playing our family classical soundtrack album.

When the day came, I prayed to God, thanking Him for the blessing of music, family, and friends, and asking Him to help us all perform as much as the talents He gave us could allow. I prepared for dinner with a nervous-excited air. My sister-in-law took care of the kitchen as my mom and I were conserving our energy and honestly could not think of anything else than our pieces.

When our eight guests arrived, they looked normal. I wanted to say, "You have no idea what's in store for you! " Mama and I could hardly eat. It took a while to set up the live webcast to the three continents, but once the last country (Team Australia) went online, we were in business.

The first performer, Miko, was running a fever. A few hours before the "show", he had a nosebleed. He decided to forego the dry run in the afternoon and stayed in bed. He said that the show must go on.

After greeting all our guests both local and international, I gave a brief introduction to the recital cum despedida, and then Miko stood up to play. This is the flow of the program. The kids did not play simplified versions, but the real thing.

Canon in D Major (Pachelbel)
Miguel del Rosario

By the Sea (Posca)
Miguel del Rosario

Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)
Luis Gabriel del Rosario

Sonata in C Major (Mozart)
Luis Gabriel del Rosario

Rondo alla Turka (Mozart)
Luis Gabriel del Rosario

First Waltz (Durand)
Atty. Laura C.H. del Rosario

Two-Part Invention No. 8 (J.S. Bach)
Atty. Laura C.H. del Rosario

Two-Part Invention No. 13 (J.S. Bach)
Atty. Laura C.H. del Rosario

The Poet's Harp (Mendelssohn)
Atty. Laura C.H. del Rosario

Symphony No. 41/ Jupiter (Mozart)
Mrs. Lourdes del Rosario and Atty. Laura C.H. del Rosario

Liebestraum (Liszt)
Mrs. Lourdes C.H. del Rosario

Romance (Rubinstein)
Mrs. Lourdes del Rosario

Malaguena (Lecuona)
Mrs. Lourdes del Rosario

Autumn Leaves
Mrs. Lourdes del Rosario

Etude (Chopin)
Mrs. Lourdes del Rosario


The audience said that Miko made the sound of waterfalls on the piano. In my opinion, the night for Luigi was a career high, for he looked like a little virtuoso pianist, without any awkwardness or stage fright. I was the nervous wreck who made a mistake every other measure. I could see the guests on my peripheral vision and it did not help at all. I kept telling myself to relax, that it would soon be over, but my fingers acted as if possessed and just had a mind of their own, reacting to my palpitating heart. I was only able to breathe when my duet with Mama started. Somehow I was able to break into a smile, finally, and to enjoy the night.

I briefly introduced the next pianist as "And now, My Mother."

When she started playing, the audience was stunned into silence, one could hear a pin drop. I beamed as I panned their faces - jaws were opened, eyes were widened, and tear ducts were activated. Such is the reaction when the unexpected happens, when people encounter true beauty. Talent and skill combined into an artist's level is a reminder of the Divine, the Creator of music and all that is grand. My mother played the piano like she had never done during all my years of existence. She was an angel of music, with finger strength just as she had when she was a teenager, attacking every piece with the emotion that it was due. My father did not know whether to sit or to stand, he was so beside himself with joy.

The burst of applause was defeaning. People stood up to hug her, thank her. I could hear "Bravo!" "Fantastic!" and "Encore!" everywhere. Our living room was transformed into a little piece of Heaven. What a moment.

We played one piece each as an encore, Mama and I, and both were written by Filipino composers. The air turned from simple to majestic, from ordinary to divine. I was no longer myself, and we were no longer in my house. We were transported into a land of creation, a garden of Eden, where gifts are poured out in grand proportions, and where hearts respond to receive them in full.

We had to end that recital, and resume talking and eating, but we all were glad to be part of something so special. We cannot upload the videos at Mama's request. In time, who knows, people might convince her to play for a bigger audience.

That night gave me strength to face the ordinary, simple, and routinary life that awaits all of us. It is a life seasoned with occasional magic that reminds us, reminds me, that there is something greater than all of us here. Somewhere, there is a God who ordained everything to be beautiful and perfect, and we will get there. We know because we have fantastic glimpses of Heaven once in a while, and we take what we can in our empty cups, and try to drink from them, only to find out that the water never runs out.

We are not ordinary. We are not the same. We are children of a Loving, Generous, and Present God, no matter how old we seem, or unworthy we feel.

For everything is Gift.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Give God a Chance

I could not share immediately after the conclusion of my second Week of RDL. I needed to let the conversation sink in for a few days before writing about it.

For the second Week of my retreat, I begged for the grace of "awe, wonder, and gratitude at the experience of God's love, goodness, care and faithfulness to me".

After sharing with my SD my reflections on this and the Gospel passages for the Week, I must have looked so forlorn that she, joyful and blessed being, encouraged me by saying that the desolation was part of it, and that nothing was lost in my prayer.

She said something that struck me. "Give God a chance," she said. For holding on to the issues and to the past blocked the grace of God that needed to work in my life. I have focused too much on the injustices I thought I had suffered that I have forgotten who God is and what He can do.

I have found some light in one of the handouts given last Sunday to all the retreatants, "Contemplating Scripture" taken from "God and You: Prayer as a Personal Relationship" by William A. Barry, S.J. I read that if I feel nothing while reading a psalm that would normally evoke gratitude (the example used was Psalm 103), "perhaps it is not the day for that psalm, or perhaps my reaction will alert me to a need for some healing from God. I can tell God how I feel and ask him for some balm and some perspective for the fight. The point is that reading the psalm has opened a door to a conversation with the Lord."

I am there now. In that fight, needing that balm, and restarting my conversation with the Lord.

This is a week of events at work and at home yet part of me wants to go to a place where I could bask in the beauty of creation and talk to my God.

Oh, I beg for the grace of gratitude for all of my blessings, since Sr. Reylie reminded me that I am richly blessed. It does not feel like it due to a very stupid and stubborn heart.

It has been a slow week but I keep trudging on. I hope to fix my eyes on God more and entertain the distractions less and less.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I am Bartimaeus

During the RDL Prayer Workshop, we learned more about the Ignatian or Gospel Contemplation method of prayer.   Fr. Cel said that contemplation was "a long loving look at the real".  It was a look using our whole being - using our mind and our imagination, our senses and our passions.

In contemplation, I simply see.  Love is the eye.  I try to be as passive as possible and to let the scene unfold.

So I went into a contemplative attitude and entered into my interior reactions to the Gospel passage that was given.

We were asked to contemplate, "just as if we were there", using Mark 10:45-52.  You may read it here.  I will wait.  It's important that you read it before going further.

So many times, I have read and meditated on this passage.  Always, I was outside the scene.  I could not relate with the blind man.  I could not ask Jesus what my heart was yearning for.  I could not enter into the scene.

This afternoon, as I was in an environment conducive to contemplation, I had a differet experience.  All of a sudden...

I was Bartimaeus.  I was blind, although I was not born so.  I remembered scenes and images, but they had slowly faded away into a blackness and a darkness that surrounded me.  

I had lost everything and I had had to beg in order to survive.  I could not bear the pain any longer.  I had tried different healers, and different masters, but continued to be poor and blind.

Just as I could not see anyone, I felt that no one could see me.  No one could hear me.  I longed to see the light again; to be set free from darkness.

One day, I heard a commotion.  There was so much buzz about Someone who was coming to town, and who was passing by the road where I usually sat to beg.  People said that He was here:  the Master.  Son of David.  Jesus.

The titles and the name held meanings to me from a past life, but I could not recall them anymore.  I could not understand them.  I knew, though, that He was Someone who could help me.  

People were pushing me and stepping on me.  I called out his name.  "Jesus", I said softly, tentatively, but the din of the crowds following him drowned out my voice.  I spoke louder and shouted, not sure if I could be heard, but needing to cry for help, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!"

I felt Him hear me.  I felt Him stop in his tracks, turn around, and call for me.  The crowds were amazed.  They parted to make way for me.  Bedraggled beggar in tattered clothes.  Smelly sinner, unwanted by society.  For this Man, I was important.  All of a sudden, I mattered to One, and I mattered.  Someone said, "Take heart.  He is calling you."  I tried to stand up but I fell.  I was so excited.

I was brought to Him, for I could not walk.  My knees were wobbly.  I could not see my way, though I could sense His presence calling out to me.  

When I was finally brought before Him, I heard Him asking me, "Ella, what do you want me to do for you?" He had asked me this question countless times before, but I was unsure then how to respond. This time I no longer hesitated.  I had been waiting for a long time for Someone to ask me that, and finally, He had come.

"Please, Master, let me see again," I begged Him.  In saying this I was interiorly asking Him to let me live again.  I was asking for Him to let me breathe again, and to walk, and to be finally free of the darkness that had imprisoned me for so long.

He paused and regarded me for a moment, and then He told me to "Go forth", or to go my way,  because my faith had saved me.

I could have run the other direction to go back to the land of my birth, as I had always yearned to do.  That would have been "my way". Instead, I felt an invitation to open my eyes, and I saw Him.  Jesus, standing before me, with a kind, inviting look in His eyes, waiting for my response to His act of setting me free, of saving me.  He had a loving look in His eyes.

I started to wonder, "Who is this man who heard me, answered my prayer, healed me, moved me?"  I don't want to leave him.  I want to follow Him.  To take one foot in front of the other, to see the world again, and to see it with Him by my side.

I was no longer a blind beggar.  I was Touched.  Healed.  Loved.

And I chose to follow Him - my Master.  Son of David.  Jesus.

Still with my bare feet, tattered clothes, and shabby appearance, my eyes that used to be blind and unseeing welled up in tears.  My heart overflowed with gratitude.  

I am Bartimaeus.  I am Ella.  And my Savior, whom I love, is Jesus.

Friday, October 03, 2008

On Love.

The theme for my RDL this week is God's love. There is no escaping this now. I could write about it, and not run out of words. I hope by the end of this week, I would be more accepting of God's Love for me. I hope to grow in faith in this area, the most important gift there is, and the one I have mishandled most often.

The thing that makes this different is that human love always gets in the way. I imagine God's love to be something akin to how I have seen, and expressed, love, thus I always get entangled in a confusing web of emotions I attribute to God, but which are not consistent with His character.

The concept of unconditional love, though deeply ingrained in me since my First Confession in 1983, is something I always forget. I often fear God's immediate judgment, as if he were a policeman with a bat ready to punish me, or a judge with a gavel willing to sentence me to eternal doom for every accumulated sin.

My assignment is to look at His creation and to see the beauty that comes into every flower, every tree, and every cloud that I see. Perhaps in being still and in absorbing beauty, I would relax in my concept of a harsh God, and see once more that He could be...

A friend.
A teacher.
A Lover.

I think now of the people whom I know love me. How do I know they love me, when they don't tell me everyday? I just know because of the way they talk to me, take care of me, believe in me.

I think of the people whom I love. It's very hard for me to say "I love you", but I think everyone knows my deep capacity for love. I show love in different languages - in acts of service, in words of affirmation, in giving gifts, in physical touch, and in quality time.

But these two do not compare to God's Love. It is at once powerful and gentle. It is invisible yet tangible. It is real, constant, and permanent.

It is so hard to embrace it. To simply accept it. To be in awe of it (as I am being encouraged to pray for).

The Psalm reading for today is apt. Psalm 139 speaks about God's love for us from the time we were formed in our mother's womb, and how we cannot escape this love.

Psalm 139
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139:1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. [1]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain! [2]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! [3]
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! [4]

I will not stop wondering, reflecting, and writing about love. At least not this week anyway. I know I'll never be worthy of this love, but at least I should believe in it in a deeper sense as I grow as a Christian and move on in my journey.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The First Week of Retreat

I have finished the first "week" of my retreat.  It took twelve (12) days, but it was a worthwhile journey.

I thought I was the only one who noticed that every time I had a scheduled session with my spiritual directress, heavy rains and floods would come.  During the first session, I was late due to flash floods.  On the second session, I had to cancel as traffic was at a gridlock caused by the sudden torrential downpour.  Last night, my friend who had finished this retreat texted me that she prayed that it would not rain today so I could go to my second SD session.

I woke up to news that there was Storm Signal No. 2 in Metro Manila.  I inwardly smiled at the Lord. Were my issues so bombastic that they had to be processed with a stormy background?  When I arrived at the Cenacle, my SD greeted me with an observation that blessings must be pouring upon me because the rainy season was truly upon us.  

I shared with her my struggles at beginning a new prayer pattern, my feelings of unworthiness, and my recurring distractions.  I admitted being unable to accept that it was I that God desired.  I was not sure if my desires were aligned to His.  I could not move to follow Him.  I could not open the door to my heart.  I was slowly beginning to realize the things I had set aside from my decade-old personal relationship with Him.  

SD said I am being honest and being myself.  Just me.  These things I bring with me are the waters where Jesus and I would swim during my RDL.  This is the forest we would travel through, together.  Despite the things I want to hide from Him, He still loves me.  What could be more profound and unfathomable than this love?

I had other loves.  Other desires.  Other dreams.  Yet I struggle now precisely because at my very core are values which God had firmly planted, and I want to clarify them and fight for them.  Yes, despite the other pulls and tugs within my own rebellious and indifferent heart.  What I really want is to be united with God, who is Love, bringing with me all my shadows and imperfections, all my sins and indiscretions.

SD gave me something beautiful - that RDL is a School of Freedom.  For only when I am free of this old image of God that I have been holding on to would I create space for His love to grow as He wants it to, today.  She said that if I let Him, God will set me free in this journey.  

I thought I did not do well at all during the past week.  But to be told that it was alright, that I could move to the next week, and that I was on the right track, left me pleasantly surprised.  Excited?  Not really, for I know the depths I have to dig through to uncover the things I had hidden even from my God.  

Yet, maybe just a little bit hopeful.  That I will find God if I seek Him with all my heart.  Find Him again.  Find Him knowing who I really am.  Find Him, who never really left me, but from whom I have been running away.

NB:  I am going through the Retreat in Daily Life.  See previous posts for details.  I will be writing reflections on the themes of my retreat for the next three months.