One of the things that I grieved the most when my mother died was that I didn't have more time to be in her presence. In the last few years of her life, she had become a bold and vibrant woman, unapologetic for who she was and what she thought was worth fighting for. I loved that she had finally reached the stage in her life where she didn't care what others thought of her. She stood so firmly in her own presence and unique giftedness to the world. She burned very brightly right until the end of her life when her body struggled against death. She had become a woman in touch with her own power. Not a power over others, but the power that comes when we are finally able to shake free of the hold of those inner voices and live out of the freedom that comes with knowing who we are. It is a power that can help to transform the world.
Living into this power is a long process and insecurities are the inevitable shadow side. I know who I am called to be and what my gifts are in the world. And yet, doubts still creep in, the inner voices that undermine my strength.
When I was at the dream workshop a couple of weeks ago, one of the presenters was talking about how dreams don't help us to avoid the difficult choices in life of how to live and we need to be careful of not co-opting our dreams for our own agendas. I have been aware of this in working with my dreams for a long time, and yet sometimes I recognize this longing for my dreams to tell me clearly the path I am called to. I want a dream with such power that it silences those inner voices. Our dreams certainly help to guide us, and lead us into wholeness, but they immerse us more deeply into the Mystery of God rather than taking us out of it. A life immersed in prayer and the deep questions of life do not lead us to easy places. Our faith should demand something of us. Claiming my own power has to do in part, with claiming responsibility for making the hard choices in my life about how to live with meaning, even when those choices don't always feel like the logical path to take and certainly are not valued by the wider culture.
I am realizing more and more that this Lent is for me about living into the bold choices for my life, choices that define who I am and what I think makes my life meaningful. It is in taking responsibility for my choices that I discover a hidden power within me rising up like fire.
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts