The Spring Equinox, though it still feels wintry. A time to reflect on - and pray for the grace of - balance. I crave balance right now. I'm aware of a lot of quite turbulent change, already happening or looming in the wings, and much negativity in the air (and I'm owning a lot of it as mine!) There's a lot of comparing (always dangerous ground) going on in conversations I've been part of: how things are now vs. how they have been, or how they might be; does that ring any bells with you? I'm so easily drawn in: I know from bitter experience how quickly my defensive buttons get pushed.
Well, it's Lent and I'm trying hard... Everyone knows - and many sneer at - the old adage, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything", but it's advice we could all do worse than follow. Instead of "nice" try "loving", or "conducive to the greater glory of God" if you're into Ignatian-speak, and see what you think... Ah, but it's not easy! Now that I'm paying more attention to how my own negativity flows into my conversation I'm so often dismayed. Sometimes when I know I'm losing the struggle with myself I'll even physically withdraw and take refuge in the loo (there was a good post about praying there in Finding God In All Things a while ago). My colleagues probably suspect I have a medical problem!
Ignatius tells us how important it is to be at balance (and to know when we're not!). He suggests a way of re-balancing: agere contra, or to move in the other direction. Sometimes I can find the grace and energy to do that; I might change the subject or even manage to say something loving and positive while still remaining true to myself. But often I can't. I think I'm learning, though, that agere contra needn't be about action. It can be simply a helpless turning to God who, in the words of the old Lenten collect, seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves. As the newly-elected Abbess says in Rumer Godden's novel In This House Of Brede: "I can't... So You must!"
I'm up to Jacob in Genesis: "truly the Lord was in this place, and I didn't know it." God is there even when I can't feel his presence - joining in a good old game of "ain't it awful", or hiding my helplessness in the loo.