Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Three Steps Toward, Two Steps Away

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After such a banner week last week, I don’t have any headlines to report this week. No major steps taken, nothing else proposed—although I did work on a submission of some of my work to a theological journal. But as I pondered what did happen this week, I found myself thinking that it’s not “three steps forward, two steps back” but rather that I’ve consolidated my steps from last week and kept speaking my truth.

Much of the reason that I didn’t write any poetry this week, or work much on my SMART goals or other SCORE work, was because Henry and I traveled to and from Albuquerque this week—a round-trip of almost a thousand miles. We made the journey because my parents are down-sizing to an apartment and were giving us their dining room table and chairs, along with a number of other household items ranging from furniture and garden tools to kitchen gadgets, books, and Native American pottery.

Trips, vacations, and other breaks from routine are usually gifts for us, but they can also throw us off our routines—which can be deadly to the establishment of newly created practices. I know that this has been the case for me in the past. Like I indicated last week, all I can really do is commit myself to moving onward “one day at a time” and recognize that there will be days when that just doesn’t happen. The good news is that I’m now back home, I’ve got plenty of work to do, and I am still managing to put my own creative work first.

Another gift of this past week was a meeting with my spiritual director, who helped me to remember that this desire, this drive to make changes in my life, is rooted in my relationship with God. God called me to this ministry, and all I need to do is keep taking one more step, and then one more step, and then one more…. Some days those steps will feel like I’m not “making progress,” but my sense of the bigger picture is still terribly small.

IMG_1480In fact, I can trust that this journey is much like walking a labyrinth. The path will unfold before me and sometimes it may seem that I’m walking away from my goal, rather than toward it. But the fact remains that there is only one path in the labyrinth, and it leads to the center. Once I start on the path, I just need to keep walking, day by day, to the best of my ability.

Where in your life does it feel like you might be moving away from your goal, or even taking two steps back? Can you trust God, one day at a time, believing that you are indeed on a journey toward the center of your own particular labyrinthine journey?

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