Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Gifts of 2009

As I sit here on the cusp of a brand new year, it seems only fitting to pause and reflect on the gifts of the past year:

  • Running: I started 2009 really struggling with exercise, finally making peace with my treadmill in mid-January, and continuing along fairly well until the spring, when I just gave up completely. In an inspired moment, Father suggested that I pray for the desire to care for my body, and to my great surprise... several weeks later, I began running. Before I knew it, I'd signed up for a 5k race in the end of August. I managed only one more 5k this fall, but I've made the mental shift necessary to call myself a "runner" even when I have the occasional lull in training.

  • Spiritual Direction: At the beginning of 2009, I was looking for a spiritual director. When God led me back to Father in February, it was truly the answer to my prayers. In the past year, Father has led me through some difficult times in my family, and to some painful (but necessary) realizations. He's softened, too. He is gentler, more compassionate, more patient with me now. We met yesterday morning, and even without an agenda for our meeting, the conversation and time flowed quickly.

  • Praying the Hours: After about a year or so of thinking about it, I started praying the hours early this fall. It's set a nice rhythm to my day, tied me more closely to the liturgical calendar, and has improved my prayer life immensely. And... most surprising of all... praying the hours is much less complicated (and much less time consuming) than I'd been fearing.

  • Vision of Peace: This place is among the best gifts of 2009 for me. When Father first told me about it in February, I was uncertain. My friend and I visited during Holy Week, and immediately began planning a retreat there. I've been back about every 6 weeks since then, ran a retreat there in September (and am planning another one in March), and have found my home-away-from-home in the little hermitage called "Beautiful Earth."

  • Learning to Count my Blessings: This year, I stopped every Saturday to count the blessings of my week, and learned to do the same at the end of each day. This small practice has gone a long way toward increasing my appreciation for all that I do have, and decreasing my frustration and sense of entitlement. I've been feeling called to take this attitude of thanksgiving further in 2010... so I may be looking at different ways to foster eucharisteo... thanksgiving... in my life.

May your new year be blessed!

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