On January 29th, 2017 my life changed dramatically in a mere 30 minutes. How is that possible? Did something terrible or amazing happen?
So what gives?
I was on a plane headed to an interview. I checked my watch and it was 5:00 pm. I had another hour on board. Sitting in front of me was a book, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.” The first few hours on board I had been skimming through the book. The Spiritual Exercises, for those unaware, is a way to look inward.
Reflection on steroids if you will.
The Exercises (consisting of prayer and reflection) are to be completed in a month in order to strengthen one’s relationship with Christ. Through the exercises one examines one’s life and the life and passion of Christ. I didn’t start the exercises on the plane. That is not what changed my life. However, I did think a lot about the topic of reflection.
I thought, “Have I ever truly sat down and reflected on my entire life?”
No. I had never done it. So that is what I did.
I went from my earliest memory to the present moment sitting on the plane. In complete silence. No headphones. Just me and my memories.
I have to tell you…
It really hurt. But I learned so much.
Here are a few excerpts from my journal that I wrote immediately after my life reflection which lasted for about 30 minutes (the fastest 30 minutes ever).
Today is 1-29-2017 and I reflected on my entire life. I now know why I feel certain ways at times. I know why I act in certain ways. I know now that I was hurt. When I was truly broken. I know now that Christ calls on me to hand him all of my burdens. In Him they are gone. I am made new. Not injured by the world…
You have taken a lot of beatings from this world. You have been so hurt. So now what? Don’t let this pain break you down everyday. Stop carrying it. Put it all on the cross. He is carrying it all. Let it go. He is holding it all. Let it go. Your Creator has taken it all. That is precisely what love is. God is love because he has taken it ALL.
My calling makes so much more sense now. I understand why.
I can’t really explain to you what happened on that plane. All I can let you know is my life though still confusing and uncertain made a little more sense. I can tell you I was tearing up (I haven’t cried in a very long time). I can tell you that I felt at peace. I can tell you that I finally understood the love God has for me. I can tell you I finally understand the power of the cross.
Towards the end of my reflection an image popped up in my mind. I pictured myself on a mountain holding a wooden box about the size of a shoe box. Inside was the weight of my past. I walked up to Christ and handed him the box. He gave it back. I looked inside and it was empty.
Friends, I encourage you to sit down in a quiet room and reflect. Think about your earliest memories and work your way to the present moment. In this maze of the mind a lot of things will start making sense. You will understand why you have certain fears. You will understand why certain moments make you happy. You will understand God’s will a little more.
As night hit, the plane became dark. As I came out of my prayerful reflection, I noticed that pretty much all the lights on the plane were off.
I looked up and noticed mine.
It was on.
I never turned it on.