“In the spiritual journey we also face moments of temptation to return to the land of our slavery. It’s safe, secure, and known. Where God is taking us is risky and unknown and requires deeper trust, courage and greater maturity No matter the nature of our awakening—feminine or masculine—each of us faces aspects of our human condition from which we long to be free. Perhaps the bondage is an addiction or a self-perception, an attitude or a posture. Whatever the shade of our personal slavery, longing forces us to actively wait, thereby keeping us anchored in the journey toward freedom…This kind of longing keep us us submitted to the transformational work of God in us.”
—Phileena Heuertz, from Pilgrimage of a Soul, pg. 75
I hear this story frequently in conversations with friends, students and in my own heart. It goes something like: I am realizing that I am not free—I am not sure if I even know how to define what is keeping me from freedom, but I am realizing that I am living “less than”. I see a glimpse of the free life ahead, but I have no idea how to get there—how to live in this place of transformation. I see that it may require some difficult conversations, significant life change, and hard work. I am weighing if that is worth it or not. I have a longing to live as a new being, but how do I do this becoming? What does it mean to actively wait? How can I be sure that God is with me in the waiting? This waiting period is dark, unknown, and full of fear—because I am not who I was before, and I am not who I want to be. It is easier to go back. But now I don’t know how to be who I was…this liminal state is painful.
Phileena’s book, Pilgrimage of a Soul, is her story of her courageous encounter with the new place and the old place and the journey between. I am in the midst of reading it—finding myself encouraged and welcoming to my friend (I have known Phileena for years), but yet knowing her in a new level and place in her writings. I am confronted with my own journey of stops, starts, waits, and longings…and the beauty of the road. I recognize that there are some questions in me and some ways that it is easier to stay the same, yet, a growing sense that God is breathing life into me that is both beautiful and terrifying to me.