We (Gerri and I) spent the early afternoon helping a dear elderly auntie prepare for her second household move in 13 months’ time.
In truth, Gerri did most of the sorting, sifting and packing work…while I chatted quietly with my aunt…trying to help soften the trauma of yet another diminishment in her life.
“Assisted living” is the next stop in her life’s journey, and she’s not really looking forward to it…although she does long to be reunited with her husband (her “one and only,” she calls him), who these days is requiring a more intensive level of care.
I was glad for the time we had today to reminisce, my auntie and I. It provided the chance to recall some pleasant family memories…and to talk about the remarkable spiritual insight I received just yesterday from one of our Kairos brothers at Menard.
From mouths of felons: Jason A. used his open mike time to reflect on the gift he’d discovered while at the penitentiary – the presence of Christ inside. Not just inside the prison walls, but inside himself. “Christ, inside each of us,” he confessed, with a look of earnest wonder in his eyes.
Jason went on to explain the opportunity this gift represents – the chance to make room for Christ, by moving our own egos aside. “Christ is there,” he said, “wanting to fill the emptiness we all feel. And Christ gives us the chance to share that gift, through our decision to become Christ to others around us.”
The insight is particularly apt as we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, I thought. Jason used different words on Saturday, but he’s basically saying the same thing that John the Baptist said about his own relationship with Christ:
‘He must increase; I must decrease.’
It’s not always a pleasant thought – to come to grips with the reality that diminishment is often a part of life. Loss (including loss of self) simply comes with the territory.
But seen through the eyes of faith, the ‘moving times’ in our lives can also become invitations to holiness.
As the Swiss mystic Adrienne von Speyr once observed,
‘In himself, the Lord cannot increase; he is fully grown. But humans have to make room for his fullness, the room he asks for. The room is not an empty space; it is occupied. I, the sinner, occupy this space…This increase of the Lord in me is the light dispelling the darkness.’
Perhaps one resolution we all might make for the new year, then, is to schedule a little ‘moving time’ of our own: Moving out the tired old stuff that needs to go…and making room for the life and light of Christ to move in.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.