Is it just me, or do many of us read the works of others and think either —
“Gosh, this author sure has her life together.”
“What a load of crap! I’m sure he’s just as messed up as the rest of us.”
In reading a post recently about lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”), I had the latter thought. And then it hit me, do any of us writers have our practice figured out? Or, does it just come across that way?
I think it just comes across that way.
I know that, for me, I definitely don’t have it all figured out. In fact, being as transparent as possible here, I fail more than I care to admit. Just maintaining my own spiritual practice can be a chore (and “maintaining” might be too strong a word). I’m no different than most of us. So what gives? Why can’t we succeed with the disciplined life? Are we afraid? Is that it? Do we “just” need to overcome fear?
I don’t know.
I’ve said time and time again one of the things missing from following Jesus is mentoring, discipleship, soul friending. That is, too often when one starts to follow Jesus, one’s given a Bible and told, “Pray. Read the Bible. Go to church. Pay your tithe. Witness.” Well, at least that’s what I was told in so many words and actions.
But notice there’s nothing there about direction; about discipleship. There’s nothing in those statements that leads one to seek a spiritual mentor.
And there most definitely should be.
I think we all need to have an anamchara, a soul friend. Someone with whom we can be “as transparent as possible.” Someone willing to walk with us. Talk with us. Listen to us. And, yes, even to “correct” us. Or lead us to correction and enlightenment.
Anyway, I just wanted to let others know that, when you reading someone’s work, be it a book or article or a blog post, realize that most of us struggle just like everyone else. Maybe even more so. It just doesn’t come across that way in print.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC
PS: I have one caveat, though I’m certain this person would say the same thing as I’ve written here. I’ve been re-reading Thomas Merton’s book, Contemplative Prayer, and, let me just say, I think Merton was someone who actually lived what he wrote. It just comes across differently on the page. He may say the same things as someone else, but one gets the sense that it’s coming from a lifetime spent of doing it and not just saying it should be done.