Some seven years ago, I was soul searching to figure out what to do with my life. Funny, I was only a college sophomore. And here I am now–again soul searching for something yet unseen. This time I’m older and wiser, yet the same questions persist. Back then, my transition was from one major field of study to another and then to a study abroad year in Germany. Now, my long life as student will come to an end shortly, and I approach another important transition in my life with a master’s degree in hand.
The intense discernment of seven years ago involved an e-mail exchange with a trusted mentor. Our correspondence soon fell into the territory of spiritual direction. While this does not substitute for one-on-one meetings, our prior relationship buoyed the connection, and I believe there were moments when we were in sync spiritually. Her questions, well timed, struck me deeply. I took them on walks with me as I explored the wonder of life in a southern German university town. Now, although I have a spiritual director I see, it is also I who ask those questions that stir the souls of those around me.
Back then I didn’t read books on discernment, I didn’t know about the exercises of St. Ignatius, nor did I have Thomas Merton’s writing by my side (though I could have–Merton and Ignatius are timeless companions to the spiritual journey). Fueled by simple words from a mentor, I reached into my own soul and wrestled with the all too familiar question for many of us: What am I supposed to do with my life?
It was in this struggle that my mentor asked me another stirring question. Using the character of Eric Liddell from the film Chariots of Fire, who says, “When I run, I feel the pleasure of God”, she asked me: What do you do that causes you to feel the pleasure of God?
My answers back then are not so different from what they are today. I said I write. I pray. I read scripture. Today, I would add: I feel the pleasure of God through my photography and when I travel.
These are two areas which have developed and grown in me over the years. Somehow I hope to combine these gifts (writing, prayer, travel, faith, and photography) and put them to use…to dream of ways to creatively express how I experience God in this life. I do not know yet what shape these dreams will take, but I am compelled to dream, even when my greater priority is to find stable full-time employment.
This blog is one way to dream, and I believe I already have been through sharing reflections with photos. So here’s another: The above picture was taken on Hatcher Pass, near Palmer, Alaska in August 2007. It is one of my favorites because of the composure–the reflection of building clouds on still shallow waters creates an image of complexity and depth. I gaze into the water and I see my life of transition…smooth and transparent, yet incomplete and not-yet-revealed.
What do you see?