growing through the cracks

I am thinking about cracks a lot lately.  Images of cracks keep flashing through me while I minister and live in community and try to live the Gospel and do this messy Jesus business. 

I see cracks in the sidewalks caused by the subtle shifting of the ground we know.  God is up to some amazing things and our life will not stay the same.

Sidewalk crack with green weed growing up
Image courtesy of http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/162795

   

I also imagine larger, bolder cracks from earthquake and destructive booms.  In my heart, I realize cracks inside of dark, hidden caves. 

I ponder the meaning of Christ as creator and how new things rise from destruction. I see the leaves slowly changing color, cracking from the branches and falling to the ground, fertilizing a new creation. 

I praise God for tombs of destruction cracking open to bring about great resurrections. 

And, God stretches me to more deeply accept my vocational callings.  My perspective and consciousness keeps shifting.  I am challenged to greater self-awareness and acceptance so I can be healthier and happier–fully alive with the goodness of God’s powerful love.  This means a lot of letting go and allowing the opening of my heart and mind.  As I gain greater self-awareness, my identity cracks and allows new things grow up and out of the rich soil of the God’s creation. 

I am limited, this is the reality of humanity.  My love and concern for injustice seems to keep expanding, but my love for the “wideness” of God’s universe, paradoxically invites me to acknowledge how I can only do so much. 

Sure, I am passionate about the injustices and oppression of marginalized, inner-city youth.  Yes, I am concerned about poverty and increasing non-violence skills in places where gun-fire is a daily struggle.  I was transformed and challenged by the past four years of my life, serving as an inner-city Catholic youth minister at high schools in Chicago. 

sister Julia Walsh with two high school students
I was privileged to minister with these two young men during my time in Chicago.

I loved it and hoped that I was called to work as an urban youth minister for a long time.  God, though, has created a world directed by the changing of seasons.  I was invited to let go of a ministry I loved and trusted, and moved to serve new people.  Now, I am serving youth who are much more like myself: mostly Catholic, white, middle-class and semi-rural.  I love my new ministry and am very healthy and happy in it.  I am so thankful, and amazed, as this is not something I ever imagined for myself.  God knows best. This is a much better fit and I am limited in what I can really do. 

A novel I am reading affirmed this emerging awareness.  The character is a woman who is struggling to accept her own vocation.  She writes:  “I began to accept the limitations of my life and the alteration of my aspirations, an acceptance that younger women consider weakness and surrender.  But, I found that the limitations I accepted, as youth and its dreams fell away, composed a narrow and secret passage leading to an expanse of space and liberation I had not realized existed.  I began to prefer peaceful surrender to nobel battle, for in peace is an internal freedom one never has in war, though sometimes warring is necessary for external freedom.  The disappointments were not bitter, because I was with a companion who did not turn his back on truth” (Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley).

The cracks in my life allow for new growth to spring forth.  I am so grateful that through it all, my companion is Christ, the Light of all Truth who creates all things anew. How awesome Jesus is! Amen!

3 thoughts on “growing through the cracks

  1. I love this post! It really resonated with me. I am going to be looking at those cracks in my life in a whole new light now. Thank you

  2. Don’t you just love how life finds its way through the cracks. i always marvel when I go to the mountains and see a tree growing out of a crack in the granite. May the Spirit burst through all the cracks in our lives!

  3. “There’s a crack, a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.” (Leonard Cohen)

    I keep coming back to this entry, it just describes (in terms of emotional and spiritual experience, as opposed to practical) my current experience of life, and faith. Particularly the point about stretching.

    Thank you for writing so eloquently, and for being such an inspiration!

    Blessings on all that you do,
    Danielle (a normally very quiet reader)

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