Country Roads · Spiritual Journey

The Grandeur of God: Beholding and Becoming

Learning and Becoming 

Never have I thought I’ve known it all (well, almost), but I am continually amazed how each new day or experience can bring fresh insights and deeper levels of understanding—in relationship with others, self and God.

How is it that there is so much more to learn? to ponder?! to celebrate? to behold?!  I LOVE this about life! (There aren’t enough happy adjectives and exclamation points to describe how happy it makes me!) I am grateful for this unfolding of time…to experience, to grow, to become more of who I was created to be.

I get this sense of surprise and discovery at spiritual retreats when I hear an idea or perspective I’d never considered; or trying a new strategy in the classroom that helps me connect with students; or seeing the changes in nature from season to season on a country drive; or in the enjoyment of watching my child grow and learn.

I stand in awe of the Creator of all things created and becoming.

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The Grandeur of God

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God!”  -Gerard Manley Hopkins

Often we don’t pause long enough to appreciate the grandeur that exists in our ordinary day, whether in parenting, work, recreation or service. We become task, rather than process, oriented; focused on results rather than what we can learn and how we can grow from an experience. We have been trained by our culture.

In the snippets of headlines and social media posts we have become accustomed to the fast-food delivery approach to news and the over-abundance of information. But to fully appreciate the beauty of words, savoring good literature or commentary requires a commitment to read, reflect and ponder, with highlighter in hand, rather than falling down the rabbit hole of the Internet. (I know of which I speak; it is impossible to read the whole internet in one night, despite my repeated attempts.)

Relishing, cherishing, beholding—it takes more time and intention than the immediacy the world offers us.

To behold is to regard, gaze upon, view; watch; discern.  To relish is to have a hearty enjoyment or appreciation. To cherish is to treat with affection and tenderness, to hold dear, to treasure. We need a period of time, a place of peace, a determination to withdraw from the ways of the world to see in this new way.

Consider the difference between eating and dining. Eating is grabbing the all-too available chicken fingers at a fast food restaurant, eating on the run, rushing to the next appointment.

Dining is relishing in the “sacramentality” of the food.  “Sacramentality”, according to Fr. Larry Gillick, SJ, is seeing beyond what it seems we see, rising above the secular evaluation and seeing the sacred; looking not just at the accidentals of, say, an apple—the color, the size, the variety—but looking beyond to the substantial and sacred aspect of the apple. We can behold, cherish and relish an apple; much different than eating an apple in fast-food style.apples

The sacramentality of the apple is the seed from which the tree grows, eventually budding and blossoming; children playing and families picnicking underneath the tree; and, finally, the tree bearing fruit to satisfy taste and hunger.

This is how the apple is created. This is its becoming.  We honor the apple by recognizing its geneses. It is not created in an instant; it is created over time. It becomes an apple. Starting as one thing, it becomes something new, albeit at its core (no pun intended), it is an apple.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~e. e. cummings

I see this in myself. I know that I’m not the person that I will be when I meet my Creator. I have some time to grow. I am still becoming. I see this in my work, my marriage, my relationships…they are all in the process of becoming. I see this in my child. Jessica turns 21 years old this week.  My baby, toddler, teenager…. now, a young woman.  Jessica has always been who she is and yet she is becoming.  More thoughts in Jessica Becoming, a special post for my daughter’s birthday.

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