How long does spiritual growth actually take?
You go to the chair every morning with some mix of hope and acceptance. You HOPE for an encounter, for a wave of grace and presence and transcendence that leaves you with goose bumps and and an elevated heart beat. You ACCEPT the fact that not only may this not happen, it’s not even the point.
The point is to show up and do YOUR part.
But still you desire some change, some marker and evidence that you’re getting better. But would you even recognize it if it showed up?
Or is the evidence really only seen by others, by your friends and family?
Some mornings it really seems like going through the motions, like no one is really listening. And this is difficult. You know in your head that these times are simply times of FAITH, when the gap is a little wider, the silence is a little deeper.
When the feelings come, when your heart is stirred deeply with a loving presence, THAT is when it is actually easier to believe, to be grateful.
But those times are simply good gifts from God, and your job is to first appreciate and be grateful for those gifts.
But NOT to come to expect the gifts.
When the silence is louder than the words of love, it doesn’t mean the Gift-Giver is absent, or is unhappy.
It’s just a reminder that you cannot really control when and how the gifts are given.
Still, though you may know this objectively, the experience of the silence can be challenging, and even discouraging.
Will there ever come a time when you consistently dwell in this joy, this love, peace and compassion?
That’s when you hear the voice of your mentor, your spiritual father saying, “How long did it take you to wonder INTO the wilderness? If it took you 20 years (or 5, or 10, or 40) to get INTO the forest, why would you expect to walk out in just 4 years (or whatever your number is).
The point is to simply keep on walking: show up, sit down, and engage silence… and wait.