The evening chill silently crept in through the door. Although the sun still shone brightly on most days there was something magical happening all around me. Tired greens leaves would soon be replaced by stunning golds, oranges and reds. In an unsuspecting way, my favorite season had arrived in all her colorful splendor. The beauty of New England autumn reminds me that God is indeed alive, well and all around us.
Entering the quiet of the woods, I caught sight of a little tree surrounded by pines and towering oaks. Her leaves had already turned beautifully orange and red. I stood gazing at her wondering how long it would take for the other trees to catch up to her. “She must be truly resilient,” I said out loud (to no one but my dog.) I was thinking that this small tree must be very strong inside. She had withstood the cold and snow of a frigid New England winter and was now able to share beauty with her stunning display of colorful leaves.
As I thought about it, I realized that people can be a lot like autumn trees. Some folks adapt quickly to life’s challenges while others need more time to unveil their true colors. Like the little tree in the woods had shown, resilience is an essential virtue for flourishing. Our world presents many challenges these days – the continued pandemic, efforts for racial justice, rising unemployment, the upcoming election and so much more. Folks need to dig deep each day in order to remain steadfast amidst the storms of life. So how do we remain resilient? For me, it is an intention to engage in daily prayer. Without time with God each day – I am simply lost, like a ship at sea without a sail.
Bishop Robert Barron defines prayer as, “a conversation among friends.” He suggests that we carve out TIME each day in order to converse with God. When we do, “we will discover that prayer allows us to find our CENTER – the place where we are, here and now, being created by God.”
I often find that when I begin my prayer time feeling anxious or worried, I end it feeling much better. Speaking to God with HONESTY is an important part of prayer and something that I have learned over the years. A friend once told me, “Tell God everything. He can take it all – your anger, frustration and sadness.” She was right. When I do this, I am always led to a helpful scripture or book that allows me to see God leading my life. But, I have found that the hardest part of prayer for me is listening. Barron says, “LISTEN attentively after you talk to God. God speaks back – listen in the silence of your heart and pay attention to your feelings. We live in a noisy culture, don’t be afraid of silence. God speaks in the silence.”
Prayer has been a daily gift to myself for many years. This quiet time with God has helped me to become more flexible, altering my internal mood (or color) from gray, on tough pain days, to bright yellow or red – which signifies resilience and faith. God is willing to shine his grace on all who call on him for help. We just need to make some time to speak with him daily.
Becoming a resilient woman in 2020 takes effort, faith and determination – my beautiful Mom taught me never to give up! With God’s help, we can all get there. And with God’s grace, the beautiful colors we share each day will spread beauty, goodness and truth throughout the world sowing peace and joy to all.