Enough Light for the Next Step

The title for this post is Henri Nouwen’s, from his book, “Bread for the Journey”. Today’s entry really spoke to me:

Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, “How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?” There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we can go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.

Now I have to admit that I started this week off with a bit of a pity party. First off our children will be returning to their universities next week, and so far I am not enjoying this empty next business. Then, to boot, I found out that our beloved church choir director of 31 years, Ken Carter, will be retiring in June. Anyone who knows me knows how much our weekly handbell practices mean to me – this news made me realize how much of an anchor Ken has been in my life all these years. So Monday, I decided to take my time, journal, and have a good cry over all this…only to realize I missed an 8:30 meeting! Snap out of it! I barked at myself but it was no good – kept feeling sorry for myself and wondering where this job would lead to anyway (when I decide to be glum I do it well). So this morning I told myself I need to have a better day.

First on the agenda was a meeting with 5 women who all feel called to bring yoga to UrbanPromise. We began the meeting with Nouwen’s reading above – and I knew right then God had a plan to set me straight today. Our meeting was one of those rare moments when everyone was on the same page, discussing the impact of trauma, how yoga can release trauma from the body, and how we could support one another through this experience. We agreed that there will be two yoga classes a week starting next week for the staff, and that I would investigate further how to bring yoga to the StreetLeaders.

Next came an awesome phone call with Kevin from Genesis counseling, in Collingswood – I had called to find out some details for a grant proposal, and also to see if I could refer some high school students. But the conversation became so.much.more…! Soon WE were discussing trauma, and the ACE study (see last blog), and how group therapy can be so beneficial – and next thing you know we envision together how Genesis and UP can partner to support our youth! This is something I have been envisioning since I first started thinking about all this and here it was, falling into my lap.

The icing on the cake for the day, though, was when a young woman poured her heart out to me this afternoon. What she shared is deeply personal, painful, and took so much courage. And to think she trusted me enough to be that vulnerable. As we hugged, and she melted into my arms, I felt my heart fill and explode – and the pain of my children leaving, of saying goodbye eventually to Ken, slipped way into the background. Tonight, so far, it’s staying where it belongs.

I received such affirmation today that I am on the right path. I received the amount of light I needed to see my next steps. Thanks be to God.


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