Inviting You Deeper: Small Bursts of Light

May 11, 2020

A few years ago, my family and I were at a family campout.  My youngest son was in scouting, and they hosted campouts that dozens of families participated in a couple times of year.  When we all set-up our tents, we created an obstacle course of tents, tent wires, and stakes that were hard to maneuver even during the day.  At night, it felt like a treacherous obstacle course to make your way through because it was pitch-black outside. It was so dark when the sunset, you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face.

Well, one night while we were sleeping, our youngest daughter, Mary, who was almost three at the time, came over to me in my sleeping bag and gently woke me up.  “Mom! Mom! I need to go to the bathroom!”  Feeling a bit groggy, I opened my eyes and immediately said, “Mary, go wake your dad.”  She replied, “I already tried, but he’s snoring!”  

Sluggishly I sat up trying to take in what was happening and where I was.  It was so dark I couldn’t see anything, not even my daughter’s face.  This odd fear rose in me as I realized we were going to have to make our way out of the tent, through the obstacle course, in pitch black darkness.  I began scrounging around for my flashlight in hopes to help us see.  The tiredness I felt along with the dark kept me from finding it.  

As I stood up, Mary tugged on my pajama pants and said, “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ve got mine!”  She held in her hand the tiny Olaf flashlight we had given her for her birthday.  My immediate thought as I saw it was it will never be bright enough to help us.  Mary flipped the light on, and I was shocked to see that even her dim, light coming through her Olaf kids flashlight shattered the darkness.  We walked to the edge of the tent and unzipped the door and stepped out.  Mary’s flashlight gave us about a two foot beam of light.  

While every part of me wanted the entire path lit from our tent to the bathroom pavilion, all we had was two feet of light ahead of us.  It was not what I wanted, but it was enough to help us find our way.  We took one step, then another step, and then another with her small flashlight illuminating two feet ahead of us each time.  We made our way over tent wires and around tent stakes one flashlight beam at a time.  We not only arrived safely to the bathroom pavilion, but we also made it back to our tent to zip back up and snuggle into our sleeping bags to fall asleep again. 

I keep thinking about this story a lot these days.  I don’t know about you, but I want to see the whole path illuminated out in front of me right now more than ever.  I want to know what life will look like this summer.  I want to know what the fall will look like.  It is hard to make plans because of all the information I feel we are missing.   

The uncertainty we are facing, though, about when life will reopen and return to normal feels like we can only see as far as Mary’s flashlight allowed- two feet ahead.  God is inviting me to be thankful for the two feet being illuminated in front of me, though.  I know what I am doing today.  I know what I am doing next week.  While we have yet to figure out what summer looks like as our children’s school ends on May 22nd, I do know what the next two weeks will look like.   

This Sunday’s Gospel (John 14: 1-6further reminds us of this message of knowing our way forward.  We hear Jesus tell his disciples:  Where we are going, you know the way.  Thomas tells him, “Master, we do not know where we are going.  How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”   

That brings me great comfort.  Jesus is the way and knows the way.  My job is to be trust the two feet of path illuminated by him in front of me and step forward in faith, knowing as I take the step, he is going to illuminate the next two feet in front of me.  That’s our journey of faith.  One step forward with Jesus at a time.   

This week, as we still long for the full path to be lit ahead of us, may we each thank Jesus for the two feet ahead of us and may we step boldly in faith.   

Go Deeper?  

The Inner Chapel: My New Book!

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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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1 Comment

  1. Peggy

    Your new book and your social media posts are the highlight of my spritual practice. Thanks for the light!


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