Writing is an opportunity for me to think about my life, the larger world, and the issues of our times. Reflecting is akin to pondering and one of the women I admire most in the world was know for doing just that.
Mary, the Mother of God, must have pondered many things in her heart. Her fiat was a strength which stemmed from God’s grace and her ability to ponder, reflect, and act accordingly. For me, there are few important steps that make the difference between fruitful pondering and humdrum daydreaming.
Though my life is often a mad rush from one to-do adventure to another, there are times when I give myself permission to simply stop. Stopping the mad rush through the house, as well as in my head, is the first step to lowering my chance of sudden heart attack and – as an added bonus – healthy pondering.
2) Think freely.
There is a transition time between getting off the merry-go-around and the clarity of thought that allows real pondering. Again, I have to grant myself permission to take the space & quiet time necessary to think freely and be released from the rush. Yes, even when kids are calling – hopefully not frantically.
3) Set the course.
I have to set the course. Thoughts, when left to run free, will do just that. They will run all over the room, the house, the countryside, and even the world. But they don’t offer me much in the way of understanding. It takes me grabbing them by the throat, also know as an act of will, to focus my attention. I have to decide what I want to think or pray about.
4) Ask for heavenly help.
I find that no matter how sincere my desires, I am rather weak when faced with a few moments of quiet time. Suddenly, I am assaulted by demons of guilt, specters of what could be happening beyond my sight, all the things that I forgot to put on my to-do list, and the compulsion to just keep moving. I need help right off the bat. I’m not one who can come up with beautiful prayers when I’m in a fix. A simple Jesus, Mary and Joseph usually does the trick.
5) Write out and sort through.
Once I start the prayer process or the “think-through,” I usually find that I have to review some things before I can move toward any decisions about the future. At this point, it really helps if I pick up a pen and paper and allow myself to write out what I am trying to sort through. Otherwise my thoughts go in circles trying to remember what I just decided or if I remembered a significant point. I write a little and read it over, write some more and read it over. This stop and go approach allows me to think slower and keep on track. I remember better where I started and where I was heading.
6) Decide about further thought.
By the end, I find that I have usually come to some conclusions, perhaps ones that I had been coming to for a long time, but I had never faced the resolution of committing to them before. Seeing my thoughts on paper and deciding if I assent with my will to my decisions is a cornerstone of fruitful reflection. I now decide if I agree or if I will have to think more on the matter – perhaps at a later date.
7) Know myself best through writing.
God has granted me many gifts in the form of prayer and insight. I can ponder His life and my purpose in the autumn colors, I can see His reflection in the innocence in my child’s eyes, I can learn myriads of wonders about his power and glory through academic studies, but it is through writing that I often get to know myself the best.
For now, it is off to the rush of of homeschooling and end of the week tests. But I keep calm in my soul knowing that I will take time again to pause, to ponder, and to spend some time with Christ at my side, guiding, comforting, and shaping my soul for His work – for only in Him will I ever know true peace and prosperity.
Copyright 2014 Ann Frailey