“The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of the here and now.”
As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, and in the Byrd's song “Turn, Turn, Turn!”, to everything there is a season. There is a season of life for all human endeavors—whether childhood, youth, child bearing, middle age, old age—and in each of those seasons, there are tasks to accomplish. Within, and dispersed among them are joys and sorrows, gains and losses, wins and disappointments. Life presents itself as a package. What we bring to the opening and sharing of that package is of utmost importance, for we can make it unbearable, or bearable, even joyful, for ourselves and others.
We humans, if we had our druthers, would prefer to have life be a one way street—and that would be “Easy Street.” Even though we know that without darkness, light is insignificant, and without pain, we do not recognize joy, we want our lives to be without the dangerous curves, without the steep climbs. But it is that variation in momentum that pushes us to have a spiritual life in the first place—in it we find our humanity, its limits and its strengths. When life is difficult, we invariably reach out to each other, and to our higher power for assistance. Even if we aren't religious in a traditional way, we lift our eyes and ask for help. When life is joyful, we celebrate together, we give heartfelt thanks.
The spiritual life, to be real, must be lived in the midst of life's chaotic messes, its low doorways, its dark caves, its light arbors, its beautiful sunsets, its mountain top moments. It must be our go-to place for every moment of every day. Don't save it for Sunday, like your good clothes. Wear it everyday, until it's threadbare, and the only thing you want or need.
In the Spirit,