wanting answers – mar 2011

NOTE: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Shall I rent my condo? How can I afford a speedboat? What shall I do about my book? My brain found no answers. God! Show me the way. I struggled to “hear” my Higher Power, but God seemed silent. When my church offered University of Florida students a four-day, stay-at-home spiritual retreat, I joined, too. That might help!

Monday morning was my first activity. Wearing my winter jacket, I drove to meet with my spiritual advisor at her convent. The sun shone, so I buzzed down my car windows half-way. Birds sang in the thin cool air.

I’d read over Day One’s topic, “You are infinitely loved by God.” It included a quote from Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” Hmm.

When I rang the bell, diminutive Sr. Annette opened the door with a smile. I followed the gentle spirit to the stone-walled chapel. We sat and she asked, “Do you believe God loves you?” How will this bring me answers? I hushed my doubter-voice and Sister and I discussed God’s love. Leaving the convent, I walked and prayed among silent, still-bare trees. At a Starbucks, I sipped coffee and listed ways I had experienced love.

The second day’s topic was, “Our Relationships with Others.” That morning I met again with my white-haired mentor. Outdoors called when I left and I walked Sister’s quiet neighbor-hood. In the wear-a-jacket morning, maples budded red. Ah, spring!

I ordered coffee at an outdoor café and considered, “How can I become more loving, more intimate, more caring with those God has brought to me?” I looked around. The café’ patio contained a mix of tattooed youth. I smiled at a raven-haired beauty. She laughed with a girlfriend who wore clown-red hair, and blew a stream of cigarette smoke from bright pink lips. Maybe being accepting is a way of love…

Home again, I glanced at my watch. We’re to meet at 8:00 tonight for a silent prayer ser-vice. I need a nap! I padded to the bedroom, stretched out and closed my eyes.

When I left for church at 7:30, the familiar daylight world had faded. In its place was a more mysterious one lit by cars’ headlights and overhead street lamps.

The vaulted sanctuary was quiet as I pulled open the heavy wood door. Altar candles burned and, in the old oak pews, a few people were already on their knees, heads bowed. I moved to the prayer candles and lit two for the two flames I saw in my heart. I blessed those I love — living, and gone from this world.

Leaving the votives, I chose an empty pew near the front and knelt. Silently, I repeated a mix of learned prayers and pleas for God’s direction. When 8:00 arrived, our priest appeared, led by a white-robed altar-server who swung a brass incense burner. A thin trail of blue smoke rose into the air. Mm. Frankincense.

After scripture readings and contemplation, Father stepped to the podium, his ivory garment rustling like taffeta. He said that each of us came into the world with a vocation — the job or calling God prepared for us. He told about the prophet Jeremiah who was just a boy when God called him to speak. Did God put words in my mouth as a child? Maybe. But people listened to the boy Jeremiah. When I told Grandpa Pappy he should stop swearing, he just raised his eyebrows. When I told my folks to go to church every Sunday, they just laughed.

Father ended his comments and went to his kneeler. The altar server and everyone in the pews settled down for silent prayer. When my knees gave up, I eased back onto the pew. I thought about Jeremiah and “little Frances,” closed my eyes, and meditated.

Suddenly I “heard” a “voice.” “Frances! Frances! Frances come out.”

As I sat with my eyes closed, an inner layer left me like a sheet being pulled off a mat-tress. What’s going on? I opened my eyes and glanced around. Looking up, I saw something shimmering and transparent. It hovered midway to the ceiling. Eek!

I closed my eyes again, took a breath and heard, When you were born, I laid a key in your heart … love. It’s been waiting all these years. I sent you others to show you how to use the key. Now it’s up to you.

You are wondering about the two lights in your heart. They are to show you the way. They are gen-tleness and understanding — My ways to use your key in the world.

I waited. A pew creaked, but I heard no more. Suddenly, I noticed I felt “normal” again.

I looked up and saw only ceiling. It’s gone!

Hoping to hear something more, I concentrated on my breathing : In… hold… out. In…hold…out… But, the next thing I heard was Father’s garb. It swished like wings of birds taking flight as he rose from his kneeler.

I had prayed for guidance. I wanted to know about my book, renting my Michigan condo and buying a speedboat. But God seemed to say, “None of that matters. All that is important is using your key. Give love. Be gentle and understanding.”

More than answers, I got a solemn assignment.

Frances Fritzie

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