“In every one of your actions, remember that you can give great glory to God merely by performing with a holy and extraordinary exactness the duties of your state in life.” St. Vincent Pallotti
By Cindy Costello, executive director Pallottine Renewal Center
For the last few weeks it has felt like I have been living under a little black rain cloud. Things at work, home and with family have been topsy turvy and not going according to plan at all. I have begun to feel a little punch drunk from all the detours and having to spend time figuring out plans B through Z when Plan A goes awry with no warning.
Really though, my life has never seemed like a straight path. In fact, I have always said that my life is a series of left hand turns and U-turns. I think I am headed in a certain direction, and suddenly something unforeseen happens and I have to quickly re-plot a new course. It seems that the Spirit may have thought my initial choice was a little off and nudged me toward a course correction or gave me reminders about what is really important and necessary. I think the Spirit probably views me as a mediocre navigator that if left to my own devices would wind up in Timbuktu when I was really only going to the grocery store.
I believe that God has a plan for each of us, and for the most part we get to where we are supposed to be. This, though, leaves me pondering lightweight things like destiny and free will. Certainly many greater minds than mine have explored this topic but as I think about my life here is what I think I have experienced about free will. God definitely has a plan and I have definitely fallen off the path at times. He sends nudges and little black rain clouds to get me back on the path. I have a choice to pay attention and recalculate my path or stay on my detour. So one part of free will seems to be to pay attention to signs and synchronicities and use them as a sort of sonar for staying on the path.
A second piece of free will is timing. Sometimes it seems like I am in the right place but at the wrong time. When timing is an issue I generally have to exercise patience or look for those signs and nudges that would tell me how to get back to the path and be where I am supposed to be at that time. My experience is that I generally have to be patient, but there have been times when I have had to hit the fast forward button to speed myself up on the path.
Which brings me to the third piece: fear. Fear is one of those factors that is sometimes difficult to recognize. We cloak it in words like procrastination, caution, analysis … but really it is the unknown and the lack of control that triggers the fight or flight instinct for me. Fear is not a bad thing at all and can be used quite positively. But when I don’t examine the root of that fear and just react, that is definitely about me, even inadvertently, exercising my free will rather than “letting go and letting God.”
St. Vincent Pallotti said: “In every one of your actions, remember that you can give great glory to God merely by performing with a holy and extraordinary exactness the duties of your state in life.” So all those nudges of the last week really weren’t about evil rain clouds following me. God wanted my attention and was reminding me to look to him.