After the first dinner of the retreat, you have a social activity, of sorts. All who are going to be companioned by a director show up at her/his office. I was the last to arrive and I was guided by a gesture to a chair. The chair offered quite a view.
But first this... I have been going to the Jesuit Center in Wernersville for about ten years. During that time you get to recognize the staff, from the maintenance folk, to the chef, to the woman who used to serve food but now cleans my room before and after I leave, to the office staff. One of these good folk would always pop up at mass and I was quite covetous of a job where you not only get a coffee break but you can get a Jesuit homily and the holy Eucharist while you were at it. And there she was guiding me to a chair in her office.I never knew she was also a spiritual director.
The chair had me facing a wall and on that wall was a painting. A highly favored painting by Henry Tanner. I live just north of the museum that own it. Prints and images of it seem to follow me.
By our fourth meeting a routine is set. My director gives me a meditation which I use as morning and evening prayer, I fall into a favored passage for my afternoon prayer. She is off making a copy of a meditation and I am staring at Mary. I decide I will do the Magnificat this afternoon. She walks in with a meditation on Mary's trip to Elizabeth and the Magnificat (Luke 1: 39-56).
She says, "When you speak of your friend, I think of Mary and Elizabeth." An hour later my imagination takes off once again and I am guiding Mary by hand to the Honda Fit and we hit the PA turnpike driving west. Mary changes from a teen to a woman my age mourning a son. I need both for this trip. A trip that takes me to a door step I have never seen and to my childhood. For days I have been wondering what to say when I write my friend. Now the letter takes form and I draw another card to fit inside that envelope.
after listening to those jazz tunes about Blue Skies... oh my, cool crisp Canadian air arrives and there it is...