These words of an old song have been going around and around in my in my head for a number of days now. Whether you are a Hollies fan or a Neil Diamond fan you will remember these words, "The road is long with many a winding turn that leads to where who knows where." life's road has been long, and thank God for that. There has been "many a winding turn" on the way. Winding turns, especially if you are going up a steep mountain road, with long winding turns there is a demand, forced on us to go slow. As I drove in the Rockies, I have seen the speed limit at 10 miles an hour. That is S…l…O…W. In the slowing down there is a gift(s) offered. The operative word is offered. Like all things that are offered they can be ignored, brushed aside or just outright rejected. Sad to say we do this all the time. We are in such a hurry in the doing of things we miss out on what is hidden, shyly waiting, to be revealed. The revelation of the gift comes with the slowing down or better still, being in stillness. In the slowing down we get caught up in the wonder, and beauty of the vistas.
Something inside of us says "I want more of this" and so we stop, we gaze, and our spirit is both nourished and quieted. Do we have the words to adequately describe this often recurring encounter? No we do not. We have lost the ability to communicate the essence of our spiritual experiences. So our conversations are mainly about the doings of the things of life. This is a great safeguard against having to face and reveal what is really happening. We are prevented from touching our deepest reality, and sharing it. Unfortunately, that can last for just so long, but in the meantime there is so much loneliness and pain before the spiritual earthquake happens. To paraphrase something I read, "so much wisdom is lost when the secrets of the hearts are not shared." I would like to add my two cents, "So much hope, which is essential for the strengthening of the human spirit is lost when we do not share honestly from our depths." Our depths are our real truths so it's there, Truth has taken up residence. A Resident that we must discover and welcome as our Companion for life's journey. This Resident never leaves us. There in our depths our God has created a confidence that She/He is with us even though we do not feel The Presence.(Merton) For Merton this is the supernatural virtue of hope. We all have been gifted with this gift, and as we face the great challenges of today must rely on that strengthening gift. We must be a people of hope and patient hope does not disappoint.
Merton writes in "No man is an Island:" "Supernatural hope is the virtue that strips us of all things in order to give us possession of all things." We do not hope for what we have. Therefore, to live in hope is to live in poverty, having nothing. (That does not sound so good, does it? Kind of scary!!! Please, don't stop now. The good stuff comes next.) And yet, if we abandon ourselves to economy of Divine Providence, we have everything we hope for. By faith we know God without seeing Him. By hope we possess God without feeling His presence. If we hope in God, by hope we already possess Him, since hope is a confidence which He creates in our souls as secret evidence that He has taken possession of us. So the soul that hopes in God already belongs to Him, and to belong to Him is the same as to possess Him, since He gives Himself completely to those who give themselves to Him. The only thing faith and hope does not give us is the clear vision of Him Whom we possess. We are united to Him in darkness, because we have to hope. We are saved by patient hope. Romans 8:24.