Pilgrim in Progress

I've declared 2011 to be the year I change my life. In several ways I really am changing the way I do things -- physically, emotionally and mentally. However, I'm beginning to realize that in some ways I'm going back to the way I used to do things. Undergrad for me was, like many others, a time for self discovery. However, I spent some really crucial years in an unhealthy relationship and it's taken me some time to work out all the leftover kinks from that.

I'm going to make a comparison that's going to sound a little crude and insensitive, but work with me for a second.

When Oprah did her 2 part show on men who had been molested, one man said, as Oprah has said before, that he is not who he could have been because of his molestation. I believe that I am not currently who I could have been because of several different things that have happened to me. None of those things are tantamount to being molested, especially as a child, but they are similar in that they changed the scope of who I am. The significant difference, however, is that I think that with a little effort and work, I can still be who I was "supposed" to be.

I mentioned a friend a few posts ago going through a serious break up. When I wrote that I didn't realize how serious the relationship had been for her -- but I do now. In a recent conversation she asked me how long it took me to get over my break up. I told her, "you really don't want me to answer that..." I literally just decided that the thought of going through the steps of getting to know someone didn't make me sick -- physically -- to my stomach. I'm making progress. A heck of a lot slower than I would've liked, but I won't say it's taken me "too long."

All of this rambling brings me to what is supposed to be the point of this post: sharing a new favorite poem with you. One of my professors shared it with my class on Monday and as we read through it, I felt it was so applicable to where I am in my life. Enjoy.

“Pilgrim in Process” (M. J. Mahoney)
It’s a season of transition and you’re on the move again on a path toward something you cannot disown;
Searching for your being in the labyrinths of heart
and sensing all the while you’re not alone

Yes, you seem to keep on changing for the better and the worse and you dream about the shrines you yet to find;
And you recognize your longing as a blessing and a curse while you puzzle at the prisons of your mind.

For as much as you seek freedom from your agonies and fears and as often as you’ve tried to see the light,
There is still a trembling terror that your liberation nears as you struggle with the edges of your night.

For your Reason is a skeptic and rejects what it desires, playing hard to get with miracles and signs;
Till a Witness gains momentum and emerges from within
To disclose the patterns well above the lines.

Then a window has been opened and you’ve let yourself observe how the fabric of your Being lies in wait;
And you want to scream in anger and you want to cry for joy
And you worry that it still may be too late.

For the roller coaster plummets with a force that drives you sane as you tightly grasp for truths that will abide;
Never fully understanding that your need to feel secure
Is the very thing that keeps you on the ride.

You survive the oscillations and begin to sense their role
In a process whose direction is more clear
And you marvel as your balance point becomes a frequent home, and your lifelong destination feels like “here.”

So with gentleness and wonder, with questions and with quests
You continue on the path that is your way;
Knowing now that you have touched upon the shores of inner life, and excursions deeper can’t be far away.

There will be so many moments when an old view seems so strong and you question whether you can really change;
And yet, from deep within you, there’s a sense of more to come and your old view is the one that now seems so strange.

Take good care, my friend, and listen to the whispers of your heart as it beats its precious rhythm through your days;
My warm thoughts and hopes are with you on your journeys through it all…
and the paths of life in process find their ways.

Do be gentle, Process Pilrgrim;
learn to trust that trust is dear, and the same is true of laughter and of rest;
Please remember
that the living is a loving in itself,
And the secret is to ever be in quest…

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