by Nancy Loyd. One of the things I love the most about Ignatian Spirituality is the practice of “Finding God in all things.” I have been reflecting about how true this statement is but also how much easier it is to “see” this at certain times and places than others. Recently I was in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This is such a sacred area and God’s voice speaks so loudly through the beauty of the water, rocks, and trees as well as the sounds and sights of the eagles and loons. I find that everything in my body, mind, and spirit relax and release and I can truly breathe and remember that this is reality not the world of busyness and stress that we have come to believe is the real world. Yes, finding God in the BWCA is very easy for me.
Flash forward to the next weekend and I find myself at the MN State Fair. Going to the fair is not my idea of fun, but I joke that going there every year was written into my marriage vows since it is a long standing tradition for my husband. I found myself getting annoyed and crabby as I tried to move through the hoards of people and stood in a ridiculously long line to get my one state fair indulgence of cheese curds. Then it came to me, I need to find God here just as I did in the Boundary Waters. Instantly my perspective changed and I began to see all these people in a different light. I began to wonder about their stories and how God was working in each of their lives. I was able to remember that we are all connected in a deep and profound way. I thought of Thomas Merton’s experience in Louisville where he suddenly realized that he was deeply connected to and loved all of the people in that crowded shopping district. He describes this experience beautifully in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander; “Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts, where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time.” Needless to say, the rest of my time at the State Fair was much more enjoyable.
Yes, Ignatius was wise and life is so much richer when I remember to live life the Ignatian way of finding God in all places, not just the easy ones.