The Way of Love SPRINGS of the SPIRITby Fr. Joe Hudson on April 3, 2020
The Springs of the Spirit
Fr. Joe’s weekly wanderings along The Way of Love
April 3, 2020
Greetings beloved of the Lord,
As I began to write this letter, I was very cognizant of the current situation we all find ourselves in with this coronavirus. We have been told to “stay in place.” We experience some level of anxiety when we do simple things like going to the grocery store - how many will be there? What have they touched? Are they infected? We may have concerns about family members up north and their safety. Our family up north may have concerns about us and our safety. This is a time of upheaval. It is a time of disequilibrium.
I want to talk about this experience of uncertainty and discomfort. There is something valuable to be found in upheaval and disequilibrium. As most of us have become aware of through many years of life, this human journey is one where we experience many periods of comfort and discomfort, equilibrium and disequilibrium, certainty and uncertainty – just like the time we are in now. And, it is in times like these that bring the possibility for change and new learning to occur. For us as followers of the Christ, this “change and new learning” is ultimately about transformation. It is about being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ. The point I would like to make to us all, is that it is in passing through these hard places – these places of discomfort and uncertainty – where we are given the opportunity to learn and grow and develop to another level spiritually. Transformation requires things in our lives that bring discomfort, unknowing, disequilibrium, and even suffering.
When we are satisfied, comfortable, content, and happy, things in our lives are humming along just fine. In those times there is little need to look for something else, or to need to change (unless the boredom of those times shifts us off center 😊). But when things are uncomfortable or painful, we seek for relief, for something different. Let me use an image here to explain. When I am sitting comfortably on my couch, I don’t need to move. But when my backside gives me a twinge of discomfort, I start to wiggle in order to find that comfortable spot again.
Unless I am emotionally, socially, or spiritually experiencing disequilibrium, discomfort, or pain, I often will not look for a change. Let me give a couple examples in my own life of how disequilibrium and discomfort led me to another level of transformation. I grew up in a very loving close family. For the most part I was comfortable and satisfied. At the age of eighteen I hopped on a plane and landed at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. I was miles from family and in a hostile environment. I was experiencing fear, loss of family, and disequilibrium. These feelings slowly subsided as I settled into a Marine routine. I ended up in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Again, I experienced disequilibrium as I was out of a routine, around strangers, and lonely for my family. This state of social and emotional discomfort allowed me to be open to change, for something that would bring me stability. It was in that state of seeking and openness that God came to me and satisfied my spiritual and social hunger.
For many years, I found myself comfortable, at ease, and satisfied in my life with God and a community of faith. However, the time eventually came when I encountered another experience of disequilibrium and discomfort that made me open again to another experience of transformation, another level deeper of spiritual understanding, and a closer intimacy with God.
The point I want to make is that some form of discomfort, dissatisfaction, disequilibrium is necessary in our lives. Even that discomfort experienced by us all right now with this virus. These times are opportunities to nudge us off center; to drive us to seek something more; to open us up to a new understanding of God; to further transformation.