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Mary Ann Bigelow

Mary Ann Bigelow

Not too long ago, I was sharing with a priest friend that I was struggling with a particular change of protocol in a project that I was involved in. He suggested to me that I might look at both sides and look for the hidden Creator God present in both. What a gift! It has changed my perspective drastically in the best of directions. Slowly I stepped back, stepped out of the circle of angst, and started to look at the number of times and ways my Creator has given me just what I needed to make sense of a difficult situation or a difficult change in a way of proceeding. When I needed formation, I was led to a class on the Early Church called “The Third Way.” Not only did it open my eyes to that which unites us, it also affirmed and ignited my own beliefs and traditions. When I needed by spirit to be awakened and nourished, I was led to an old amaryllis bulb that decided to bloom again, just in time for the New Year. Sitting in my living room, looking out into the lingering winter, I was given a visit by an annual friend, a pileated woodpecker, stopping for a snack on the old aspen tree in the backyard. I could have missed him, but our good and gracious God whispered…I’m here. Pay attention. When the wind was blowing and howling and snow drifts surrounded our home, four bucks decided to spend the afternoon in our side yard reminding me that life is precious.

I think that’s what it’s all about, this living, this life. We are called to pay attention, to notice everything, every day. In the midst of life, sometimes difficult, sometimes so demanding, our God is waiting, to show us that beauty and goodness still exist, beauty in the smell of fresh rosemary and lavender on a warm summer day; blessing in the kindness of a tow truck driver on a bitter cold winter’s night. To show us that Love is stronger than death and despair. Our God, ever so gently lays down the gauntlet and invites us to join in; to take these realizations of God’s presence with us and proceed. To go forward ignited by Love into a world that is operating on fear. Fear so often presents itself as anger or envy, pride or even some neediness in our own personality. It is such a powerful force in our lives. And it becomes destructive when it keeps us from being our true selves, our most authentic selves, the individuals we were created to be from the very beginning. Fear dulls the senses. It blinds us. We stop looking, listening; we stop paying attention. We miss the times our Creator God is waiting to surprise us in the most extravagant ways and sometimes the simplest ways, all grounded in Love.

We have been told that perfect Love casts out all fear. We are called to Love at all cost. We are called to love one another; to love this broken humanity. There is much to be afraid of in our world today. But love is not complete if one is afraid. And we must start with ourselves. We must look for the hidden Creator waiting for us, yearning for us. We must listen. We must be attentive, to notice everything and then to choose Love.

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Mary Ann Bigelow is a wife, mother and Spiritual Director with the St. Francis Xavier Parish Ignatian Retreat Ministry. She can be reached at jgbdaboss@aol.com.

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