New Country

March 23, 2010

 Today’s blog was inspired by my friend, Kate, at I’m a Tree.  She posted an excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s Inner Voice of Love.    I stumbled my way through this book several years ago.  I say stumbled because the brief passages were so moving that at times I would spend a week or more thinking and praying with one passage. It took me a long time to work my way through this book.
Kate’s post today reminded me of what I wrote the other day about the Trapeze Bars.  There are so many transitions in life that we go through that at times we find ourselves wanting to return to the familiar. However, we must trust in God, as Jesus did so adamantly these last few days before his passion.  We must trust that the new country will one day begin to feel old and worn in.
“Enter the New Country”

You have an idea of what the new country looks like.  Still, you are very much at home, although not truly at peace, in the old country.  You know the ways of the old country, its joys and pains, its happy and sad moments.  You have spent most of your days there.  Even though you know that you have not found there what your heart most desires, you remain quite attached to it.  It has become part of your very bones.

Now you have come to realize that you must leave it and enter the new country, where your Beloved dwells.  You know that what helped and guided you in the old country no longer works, but what else do you have to go by?  You are being asked to trust that you will find what you need in the new country.  That requires the death of what has become so precious to you:  influence, success, yes, even affection and praise.

Trust is so hard, since you have nothing to fall back on. Still, trust is what is essential.  The new country is where you are called to go, and the only way to go there is naked and vulnerable.

It seems that you keep crossing and recrossing the border.  For a while you experience a real joy in the new country.  But then you feel afraid and start longing again for all you left behind, so you go back to the old country.  To your dismay, you discover that the old country has lost its charm.  Risk a few more steps into the new country, trusting that each time you enter it, you will feel more comfortable and be able to stay longer.

What word or phrase resonates with us as we read “Enter the New Country”?
Where do we currently find ourselves?  In the old country?  Timidly tip-toeing into the new country?  Embracing the new country? 
How is our trust in God?

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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