Today, in my writing for spiritual formation group, we didn’t write. Usually, we check in as a group, then get a prompt from our director, then we sit in silence for twenty minutes as we write, and then if we want we share what we have written, and talk about it a little. Today, we never got out of checking in. Today, we acted like a group. A group that had a need and had space to fulfill that need. And today, I was blessed by the ability of the group as a whole to be open to doing something different than what we normally do. Different even than our stated purpose for gathering. And that made it amazing.
It’s not something I would usually ask for. I am quite content to do things the way they usually are. I have been in this specific practice for nearly 16 months, nearly a complete two years of school, and this is the first time that I have been in the space when we did something other than write in silence as part of it.
But this time, because of a question that was raised in the group, we were able to put aside our usual routine, and commit to the true reason for the group. Because we might gather to write, but we also gather to be together. If it was just to write, we could go sit alone and write by ourselves. We have committed to being a community that joins together once a week, and yes, we committed to writing when we signed up, but it is a way for us to spend our time, not the reason we must. We gather to be formed in our spirit. We gather to change the way that we see the world. We gather to come and share our needs and concerns and hurts and sufferings and desires and pains and joys and praises.
It wasn’t just sharing. It also was not as if the problem was presented to the group so that we could “solve” it. We try too often to solve the problems we see. But you can’t solve people. Life doesn’t work that way. Truth doesn’t work that way.
Sometimes, you have to be open to hearing the question and knowing that there is not an answer to it. Not one that is easy, anyway. There is no answer to our deep human needs.
You can’t solve loneliness by talking about it. You can’t solve hurt without reconciliation. You can’t solve life. Life is not a mathematical equation to be balanced.
We try to balance our lives so that we don’t seem too uneven, out of whack. But we quickly learn that the gentlest puff of wind can easily topple us from our precarious perch when we try to do it alone. We need more than just our own selves to get us through it. We need the stabilization of others who are also going through it, to hold us up. And we need God to guide us and sometimes carry us through the piercing jagged road of the journey.
As we balance along the journey, we have others with us, reminding us that we can stop and pause and ask for the help we so desperately need. That is why we come together.