Not that long ago a friend (Suzanne Halstead) showed up at a craft show. Now, you know I want that to happen. But this was friend I was hoping to avoid, because when you sign up to be a spiritual guinea pig and turn out to be a slug... you just want to ooze your way into a cool, damp, and shady hiding spot, preferably close to a lettuce leaf to drown your sorrows.
But there she was, so I thought about hiding.
But I knew that was just goofy so I greeted her down by the food and we talked. I told her that I had not gotten far into the book (Art and Prayer: A Lenten Journey) which she had written with her friend (Wanda Schwandt), who I knew from their joint retreats on art and spirituality.
Yesterday as I spoke of what I knew about herbs, Mosaic Woman and other guinea pigs met with Suzanne and Wanda to speak of their experiences. What would I have said... I barely made my way into the journey. For 6 days a week Wanda guided us into prayer and Suzanne added an art exercise. Some worked better than others for me, but on another day their ability to work my spirit may have changed.
Why did I stop? Craft show delirium would be a fine excuse. I also think that the practice of doing the exercises at the same time as Mosaic Woman was a mistake. Making my own time for it might have helped. And how about this... I had been already become a spiritual slug. I had stopped doing the daily examen. No reflecting on the Bible. I was hoping for a jump start to my sluggish behavior and failed. Maybe admitting this here and now will guide me back into a regular time of prayer.
I can say that what I experienced in the book was positive. One night reflecting upon words in their book and a shoulder, which I feared would never heal, I experienced what I reported back in the post...
"You can heal," were the words I heard. Was it the voice of God or just a message of hope from my brain, which I so needed to hear? I don't know and likely will never know. Yesterday I skipped doing any of my shoulder exercises for the first time in nearly three months.
This morning my shoulder made it clear that it needs to be worked. My brain needs to ache as loudly when I leave my spiritual exercises.
As I talked with Suzanne, I promised her a future blog post on my experience. I hope they publish the book. I will gladly announce that event here.