May 26, 2010

I am always fascinated to watch a child learn to walk, and watching my daughter, Abby, learn to walk is even more exciting.  Abby took her first steps three weeks ago when she was 11 months old.  She is becoming more and more confident in her walking capabilities.  At first, she would only take a step or two before she plopped to the ground.  Or she would walk between two pieces of furniture or two people quickly grasping onto a hand or chair for support.  Lately, though, Abby will walk 8-10 feet before plopping to the ground, and she will start walking towards something she wants even if it is not something where she can steady herself.  I am still not used to looking up and seeing a little red-headed, blue-eyed girl toddling towards me, but every time she does I burst with pride to watch her gain confidence in her abilities. 

Watching Abby learn to walk is a sacramental moment for me.  The whole experience points me towards God.  Abby had to master and learn so many skills before taking her first step.  She had to learn how to roll over, sit up, crawl, pull up to a stand, balance while standing, and taking steps while holding onto our hands. All of these skills help move her towards the freedom of walking on her own.   I know that the same is true for each of us.  We each have old skills to refine, things we have to overcome, and new skills to learn as we continually move forward toward inner freedom to fully live as the children of God we are. 

How often I become impatient on my journey!  How often I want to skip steps!  I want to skip grieving a loss and move right to healing.  I want to skip a period of self-discovery or renewal because it is hard and takes time.  I want to shove difficult things under the rug and not face them head on.  I must go through all the necessary steps in my life to reach inner freedom and to live fully alive rooted in God.  If I do this, I too, like Abby, will be on my way to experiencing the freedom that comes with hard work, with trust in my own abilities, and with a little faith. 

At the current point in my life, am I refining old skills, learning new skills, or working to overcome something that is holding me back?
Am I trusting that God will see me through this? 
What would inner freedom look like for me?
Have I asked God to help me live as the child of God I already am? 

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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