Like a deer that longs for running streams, so my soul longs for you, my God. Psalm 42
Feeling frustrated and worn down by my busy life, I took a retreat from ordinary activities and spent a day in silence with God, hoping that He would satiate me with the nourishment of His sweet love. Sitting in a wooded grotto, rosary in hand, I prayed before the statue of Mary without much devotion. The wooded location was beautiful, with only a few mosquitoes to annoy me, but I couldn't seem to bring about much feeling in my deadened heart. Before long, those annoying mosquitoes got on my nerves and I left the quiet sanctuary and I walked to the sunny outdoor Stations of the Cross. Meditating with the beautiful words of St. Alphonsus Liguori while contemplating the raised artwork on the cement stations, my heart quickened a bit as I felt a little more love for Jesus and his love for me, until the wasp nest with hundreds of wasps flying in and out, scared me away.
I left my natural surroundings to find God in the adoration chapel. Distractions mounted as some workmen had chosen this day for construction inside the convent and the constant pounding of hammers kept me from falling asleep as I often do at adoration, but also kept me from focusing on Jesus present in the Holy Eucharist.
I left Jesus alone with an elderly nun in the back row before my hour was through, and walked across the street to the lake to search for bits of sea glass along the lake shore. I walked for hours upon the rocks, feeling them wear right through my shoes bringing pain to my feet and the muscles in my legs. My obsessive search for the treasured bits of softened glass came to symbolize my obsessive search for the part of my soul that had become buried under distractions and false idols these past few months. I wondered if God could ever find a home within my aching and sorrowful heart, or had I pushed him away by my neglect. My time of silent reflection was interrupted by some drunken men stumbling down the bluff and I thought with or without God in my heart, I had better leave.
In the early evening hours, I curled up on a park bench overlooking the lake to lose myself in a book and try to forget the emptiness that had taken residence inside of me. Streams of sailboats dotted the horizon, slowly moving back and forth against the brilliant blue backdrop of lake and sky. The scene was lovely but a chill in the air soon entered my bones and I knew it was time to leave. I felt stuck in my sadness and no amount of silence in the presence of God could change that. I wanted to feel Him within me so desperately, the kind of feeling that would linger forever, but it was time to accept the fact that it was just not meant to be.
As I was walking along the seminary path in the dusk, I spotted a doe and her two fawns in the field. The fawns were nursing enthusiastically, tails wagging for joy. Suddenly, the doe shook the fawns away and they all continued to graze on the grass. I think God must have meant for me to witness this scene. Maybe His chasing me away all day was just like the mother deer and her babies. Could it be that I was only meant to share a small amount of time alone with God, and then I was meant to go back to my business of every day life, caring for my family and my clients at work? I thought that perhaps, just as the mother deer lovingly nurtured her babies for a short time, God also meant to lovingly nurture me for a short time and then He expected me to be satisfied enough to carry on with bringing His love to others.
Dear God, I long to feel You within me day and night. I want your sweet consolations to constantly bring me comfort. Help me to accept the fact that I must draw my strength from small moments of grace and give me the courage to carry on with those tidbits of love that you share with me. Amen.