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Staying Centered in the Storm

“Lift the stone and there you will find me. Split the wood and I am there.”
-Gospel of Thomas

Recently, I was on a weekend retreat in historic New Harmony—the site of two former utopian societies in Southern Indiana, located on the banks of the Wabash River.

There’s a beautiful granite labyrinth on the New Harmony grounds styled after the famous labyrinth of Chartes Cathedral. As I was walking the labyrinth, blustery autumn winds were blowing small twigs and golden amber leaves through the air. When I arrived at the center, I stood gazing out at the vast expanse of sky while the winds howled.

I had gone on the retreat for prayer and reflection during an emotionally intense situation. I was seeking guidance. As leaves whirled in the distance, I thought to myself: Blow fierce if you like, I stand strong with Spirit. And then, it did feel as though the winds picked up. But I felt sturdy where I stood.

The winds that day were matching my inner turmoil. Centered with Spirit, I knew I was going to remain strong despite outside circumstances. That was the labyrinth’s lesson for me. At times, life seems to swirl around us in chaos and confusion. There are problems with jobs, relationships, children, family, illnesses, loss, death, and so on. The emotions and situations blow fierce and harsh.

Yet, if you can find your calm center, with Spirit, you discover strength within—even during raging storms. That inner strength will guide you. It might mean asking for help from your friends. It might mean that you keep going, despite hardships, knowing more will be revealed. It might mean setting down your own anger, sorrows, or fears.

All storms eventually pass. They may leave wreckage. They may leave beauty and new vistas. In either case, Spirit is the reminder to not give up. Spirit says: I stand
with you. I walk with you. I am you.

On the retreat, I also came across an insightful quotation from Thomas Merton, “Even saints cannot live with saints on this earth without some anguish, without some pain at the differences that come between them. There are two things which men can do about the pain of disunion with other men. They can love or they can hate.”

If we choose hate and vengeance, our Spirit is deeply damaged. If we choose love, all Spirits, including our own, benefit. Each day, it’s a choice we make.

In joy and gratitude,


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