at Patheos, I offer my latest column. Here's the front end...
I collect refrigerator magnets that capture some of my favorite moments. You’ll find many familiar faces under clear plastic frames, loved ones from far and near. The rest of the door is littered with keepsakes from favorite travel destinations. One magnet, quoting Italian author and poet, Cesare Pavese, explains them all: “We do not remember days. We remember moments.”
The power of memory is at once a terrible and tremendous gift. I have learned that the more I recall, with gratitude and thanksgiving, the things that bring me freedom and joy, the more I am drawn to remember them when terrible things strike. Such memories bind and hold me together, anchors against strong tides. Leaning into difficult moments, I sift the value of their import, against what I hold true.
I recently came out of the confessional after a tender, grace-filled moment with Jesus in the sacrament of Reconciliation, having released a deep emotional wound. Minutes later in the pew, after my prayers of release and relief, I sought to linger in the peaceful presence of God.
I opened my bible to the fifth chapter of John. The words on the sacred page seemed as if they were written just for me. The text described Jesus’ instantaneous healing of a paralyzed man whose affliction disabled him for 38 years. This, after I had just experienced something lifted from my heart that had crippled me for about the same length of time. Those verses were a second gift from Jesus, a bonus to the graces of the sacrament, given to me, no doubt, so I wouldn’t miss the point. The formerly paralyzed man didn’t keep his news to himself. And so, here I am, in imitation.
Jesus could not have been any more real to me than if he walked into the chapel and sat down next to me. I will hold onto that for some time to come and cherish it as I, too, learn how to walk with stronger legs after Jesus.
That moment in the chapel was just the most recent in a series of Jesus moments in my life. I could never have constructed it, or imagined it on my own. It was totally orchestrated by him. Like a lover’s spontaneous kiss that renders you speechless, it begs only to be received.There's more, here.