Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

Teilhard’s prayer opens with a difficult and disturbing challenge preceded by a profound and unsettling instruction. I will start with the challenge. 

One of the things you learn when you hang out for a long time with the same group of people (well not entirely the same group – there have been many changes in our community – but still there remain many familiar faithful faces) is that life does not operate according to my schedule. God will not be rushed. The challenge of joining in God’s work is that God’s work is often “slow work.”

I have seen so many people over the years suffering in anguish at the awkward circumstances of their lives. The way forward seemed impossible, even hopeless. But, always something did eventually emerge. A way forward was found. The challenge is to resist the temptation to rush. Most of the messes we encounter will not be fixed over night. New things take time to gestate. 

The profound instruction is – in the face of uncertainty and doubt, “Above all, trust…” 

To “trust” is not to do nothing. It is to stay open, to watch in the “evening” for the small sliver of light that points the way forward. To trust is to listen for that quiet voice that holds the faint hint of truth and wisdom even in the midst of difficulty and suffering. 

People ask me all the time, “What are you going to do in retirement?” I do not know the answer to this question. For many years, my days have been filled with busyness, stimulation and activity. The details of my life have been prescribed by external demand. For me, as hard as it may be to imagine, I know that the first work of retirement will be to start by stopping. 

I believe there is a flow to life that will call if I open to the empty space that looms on the horizon as I leave the shores of “professional life”. To “trust” this flow is the first work to which I need to open and give my attention in this time of transition. 

Lord, let me trust that the guidance I seek for the way ahead will come. Help me to be here in the present moment with an open and willing spirit.