October 14, 2010

For the second time this week, Chris and I went hiking.  The first time we went during our day-date on Saturday.  We ended up spending almost 5 hours in the woods with over 2 hours of that just exploring the trails.  We stopped for a few long pauses alongside the creek and the river and soaked in the beauty of nature.  It was a true Mesa Moment for me.

This afternoon we took another hike this time with the two kiddos.  Brady walked the entire time, and Abby walked a bit, but mostly snuggled in the sling with either Chris or me.  This too was a Mesa Moment for me, but in an entirely different fashion.

When Chris and I were alone, the walking part was at a quicker pace with our long pauses being the moments to truly soak in nature.  Walking the same trail with a 3 1/2 year old is a completely different experience.  You saunter along the trails, and stop frequently to inspect and explore all the things that only a little boy’s eye could catch:  the daddy-long legs crossing the path, the huge whole in the fallen tree, the squirrel eating a nut, the roots all along the path (that Brady swears he can pull up and tries every time we cross one), the limbs that make great walking sticks, and the newly fallen leaves, which are perfect to throw in both your sister’s and parent’s hair. While Chris and I were alone, we walked first then paused later; however, Brady’s curiosity allowed us to slow down and soak the entire process in.

Both hikes were life-giving.  Both allowed moments to slow down, to pause, and to notice the beauty of God’s creation.  It’s amazing that walking along the same path twice in five days can provide a completely different experience.  It reminds me of prayer and how every time we come to prayer it is a different experience even if we use the same “path” in our prayer time.  When we spend time with God, we always bring our recent experiences with us.  God uses not only our path, but our experiences from the day (who we were with, what we did, what we felt) to speak to us.

Just as Chris and I noticed different things as we traveled the same path, we notice different things about God as we continue to come back to him over and over again.

What experiences of prayer, do you need to repeat again?
What specific scripture or meditation or reading do you need to repeat?

What experiences are you bringing with you to prayer that affect your path?
How is God speaking to you in your daily experiences?

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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