It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This morning, the remainder of nine book-related events before the end of June set off my internal alarm system, waking me before dawn.
Sitting in the Mercy Retreat Center chapel a few hours later, my perception shifted.
How many people have the privilege of returning to places, people and organizations that have been the source of a lifetime of wake-up calls and gentle support?
I walked that trip in my head and on paper during the writing of Big Topics at Midnight. Pouring over diaries, journals and little tidbits tucked into dark corners of my memory gave me a new perspective on my life and Life in general. Now I am physically returning to the places and relationships where these moments occurred.
Yesterday I was with twenty-two others here at Mercy Center as we explored wake-up calls that have filled our bones and flowed from the Spirit. Most came because they’d heard about my event through Mercy Center—much as I was drawn to some of the events I’d attended here for the last twenty-nine years. But some were important people in my life; Pam, my first spiritual director; Bill and Peter, pastor and priest; Kate, an old friend; Ann and Paul, part of a now-ended Harvest Time circle; Holly and Bill, newer friends.
This morning I got an email from Andrea at the Presentation Prayer Center in Fargo, North Dakota where I will be doing a couple of events in October. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I traveled across town almost every week for the seven years we lived in Fargo to gather there for my covenant group’s meeting, a class or spiritual direction.
Following unexpected guidance while writing my book, I discovered the power of returning to the land where important things had happened—both ancestral and personal. I now realize that my book travels are the next step of that pilgrimage.
What had felt overwhelming is also a grace-filled gift. An “overly full calendar” holds the opportunity to be in places and with people who have been part of my formation while also meeting new acquaintances and having the transformative conversations I long for.
My heart overflows with gratitude. I feel like the luckiest person on the planet.