It’s been 4 weeks since I closed my brick and mortar business due to this pandemic. It’s the business I’ve owned and operated for 30 years. As a single mother and grandmother, for the past 17 years, it has been the way I’ve supported my family, kept a humble roof over my head and food on the table, for which I am eternally grateful. It has been the way I’ve contributed and served others by employing between 20 to 30 people, mostly women. Many over the years were single mothers, themselves. Though rewarding, It has been quite challenging throughout the years to be a small business owner; however, it has given me the flexibility I’ve needed to give birth to this ministry of 20 years, that God planted in me since I was a child. This experience is in the top three dark challenges: divorce, child’s drug addiction and now living through a global pandemic. I do not say this glibly, as I’ve fought some hard won battles, but I’ve come to the realization that all as gift. I’ve lived the reality that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Now is no different.
When I heard the invitation of Christ decades ago, to “Follow me” I was so naive. Yet the desire for authentic connection with God and my truest self could not be appeased any other way. It requires grace and grit, freedom and surrender all of which are the action of God within me. During those times of darkness and pain when I’ve tried to control the outcome is when I suffered the most. When I tried to escape what I feared the most, control outcomes or take the go along to get along approach, is when I created more suffering for myself and others.
So what has allowed me to not be utterly battered by the storms? It has been my relentless pursuit (which is the fire of the Holy Spirit in me) of a deeper relationship with God through Centering Prayer. That has been the common denominator. Yes, meditating on scripture and other forms of prayer have been integral to my life as well, however, Centering Prayer is the sacred container that holds my unbridled yes to God. So whatever draws me into prayer, whether a global pandemic or the love for my family, friends and strangers is drawing me deeper into God, into Love, into Peace. I can say whether life circumstances appear as blessing or curse I enter into Centering Prayer where I put into practice the words of St. Teresa of Avila, “Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you, all things are passing, God never changes. Patience wins all things; those who have God lack nothing: God alone suffices,”