Monday, August 2, 2010

Friends in Spirit

This weekend, the "randomness" of The Letter Jar had me writing to S, a contemporary Christian singer whose music has affected me deeply, and B, a woman with whom I attended church some 15 years ago.

In my letter to S, I noted how the release of one of his albums coincided with my graduation from college and early days at my first job.

I was struggling to figure out "what came next" in my life, I wrote. I felt more than a little lost, and chased the answers in places I wasn't ever going to find them. Your album, which I listened to on my work commute, offered me peace, hope, and a different way of thinking about where my life was, where it was headed and what it all meant. To this day, I hear songs from that album and I'm transported back in time to my early 20s, and can feel the uncertainty turning to optimism and the fear turning to joy. I cannot thank you enough for the gift of your music.

B, as I told her, is someone I consider a spiritual mentor--she lived her life with faith when things were going well and, significantly, when things weren't going well at all. I told her that to spend so much time thinking about my religious and spiritual experiences--and friends like her with whom I've shared the journey--is particularly profound right now as I pursue the ever elusive family-work balance.

I have settled into a very blessed part of my life, but yearn for a spiritual practice. My family brings me so much joy, and I feel a great deal of gratitude as well for having been given these gifts of love. At the same time, things can get stressful ... there are times when I start to feel inadequate and anxious and irritable and a little sad, and it is then that I wish I had more of a spiritual practice to lean on to steady myself. I of course turn to God at those times, but I can't help but think I would feel more spiritually whole were I talking to God everyday, rather than in fractured conversations.

Some 100 letters ago, I wrote to D, a pastor in the United Methodist campus ministry at the university I attended. I related to him how the experiences of he and I and our fellow worshipers helped build the foundation of my spiritual life--lessons I read and hear and see now are all the more clear, having explored and inquired as I did back then.

I remember it occurring to me as I wrote to D that God works ways both obvious and mysterious--God brings us to exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there. That indeed seems the case with my recent letters--God in his infinite wisdom knows my yearning, and so has called to mind such powerful memories when I was in greater communion and took time to seek rather than think.

As I told B, remembering my experiences with you reminds me that the seeker in me has not gone, even if she has been drowned out at times by the cacophony of practical issues and concerns.

It is at times like these that I am struck by all that The Letter Jar project has turned out to be, that I never did expect. Each of my letters is making its own journey to a destination near or far, but it turns out the most important journey is the one I seem to be taking--back to my truest self.

SOME TIMELY WORDS: Love from Kaz, at the delightful blog I Love Letters, devoted a lovely post the other day to singing the praises of the "slowness" of handwritten correspondence. "I like the pauses between letters," she wrote. "I like that a little bit of life passes between the time a letter is written and the time I read it, and then a little bit more of life has passed by the time I write back, and then mores still by the time the recipient receives it. What I put into a letter is not information that needs to arrive quickly. It's more about capturing a few moments that can last a lifetime and will have the same value if they're read next week, next month or next decade."

"A little bit of life passes ...." Couldn't have said it better myself.

1 comment:

Love from Kaz said...

Thanks for the lovely mention. :-)