Thursday, July 5, 2018

SJFT: Look Back, Look Forward, Pause, Reflect!

Welcome to Spiritual Journey First Thursday,
a group of friends who blog monthly about our spiritual journeys. 
Doraine Bennett, our host at Dori Readshas chosen
the pause in the middle of the year as our focus for this month.

When I first received Dori's topic for our July blog post, I was a little discouraged. A pause in the middle of the year to look back at what has been accomplished? I felt despair as I realized that I'm still struggling with the same things that are my ever present challenges.

These words from Robert Warren resonated with me as I read Dori's post - "Remember, this is not to be an inquisition in which you criticize yourself for how you have failed, but a trusting review before the One who is for you. The purpose is to listen more fully to the One who is Love." I've spent some time meandering the links Dori provided, and I'm coming to this post with a new outlook.

I love the way that Dori describes the earth's breaths in this post: "The summer solstice is that point in the year when time and creation itself pauses at the top of a long slow inhalation. It began in January with a hopeful rising of the chest, a gentle filling of the earth with ever-greening light and heat. And now we have come to the pause before the breath, the calendar, the year turns around and begins its slow easy exhale toward winter." Doesn't that quote just make you want to be in one of Dori's yoga classes.

With the words, "a trusting review," in mind, I look back at 2018 so far. In January a dear friend in our congregation lost her eleven year battle with multiple myeloma. And the next month, another friend's husband lost his very brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Political situations continue to weigh heavily on my heart. 

But as I look back, I also see events of true delight (my OLW for 2018) - Jack's first birthday, a Hamilton performance, a celebration of our book club's twentieth year together, a trip to visit my brother and family in Oklahoma, Naomi Shihab Nye's lecture at Western Washington University, a visit from Blake, Stefi, & Teddy, and a birthday trip to a friend's cabin with two dear friends.

And I can report progress on a personal goal to become more fit. I was delighted to be released by my physical therapist. I'm now able to walk more, and I've been gradually increasing my steps in an effort to reach 10,000 steps a day four days out of the week. I'm now doing 9,000 and hope to bump up to 10,000 next week!

So I give thanks for what has been good as well as for my struggles. And I thank God for his presence with me in my joys and my struggles. And I go forward reaffirming my commitment to walk in faith, remembering the One who is for me with a desire to listen more fully. 


  1. Trusting review before the One who is for you is always an important phase of the reflection process, Ramona. You should be proud of your 9000 mile a day accomplishment.

    1. Ha ha,Carol! 9000 steps! But I am proud, it’s been a slow road back.

  2. It is important to celebrate the good happenings without guilt, in the face of the sad events. Why do we have to focus on the bad, when there are happy, joyous occasions, and loved ones still with us that we should be celebrating? Are we not cheating them and diminishing their worth to us?
    I'm glad you are giving thanks for all the good - and the soon to be 10,000 steps!

  3. Ramona, I'm so glad you took the time to step away and re-frame the looking back. Yes, there is loss and sadness, but much to celebrate in your list from the last six months. I'm quite impressed with your steps! My goal is 7,000, but I often to get there. You've given me some renewed vigor in this looking forward! If you ever get to Georgia, I'd love to have you in one of my yoga classes.

  4. Ramona, your words resonate so much with me. When I evaluate, I mostly see all the ways I fall short. Always the same things, again and again. I loved the way you turned things around and showed evidence of delight, too.