Beams and crossbeams and structure and light.
I mentioned on Friday that I’ve been thinking about how this current turn around the formation spiral is different than the first time around. The main difference I’ve noticed is this:
The first time, it felt like building a foundation for the first time from rubble.
This time, it feels like returning to a foundation already laid there.
When I began the process of intentional formation in 1998, I had no foundation. Well, I had the foundation of my faith, which had been a part of my life since I had conscious memory, and that certainly helped as I began the sifting process. But a lot of the “work” of that long season included the re-examination of my faith and, eventually, coming into deeper, more real communion with God. So really, my faith felt like it was busted up amidst the rubble along with the rest of my life and self-concept.
That work had so much to do with:
- Growing in my understanding of myself and my identity, and
- Begnning to connect in a real way with God.
The work of that long process laid a foundation, like thick, poured concrete, in my life and concept of self and relation to God. Now, I see the ongoing work of my formation to be about two different things:
- Building upon that laid foundation, and
- Returning to the foundation as needed.
The season I’m in now is about returning to the foundation. This is what “beginning the work again” is about for me — going back to the truths I’ve learned previously and relearning them in the parts of my soul and story that haven’t been exposed to them yet.
The thing I love about this time through the process is that I’m here to help with the relearning. God’s here, but so am I — whereas the first time through, there wasn’t much of an “I” to speak of. It feels like a chance to practice love by coming alongside these young, unformed parts of myself and saying, “Here. Let me help you. Let me show you.” Sometimes, it’s just the chance to be there to listen and to say, “I know. I really know. I was there. I love you.”
Kind of like the way Jesus did for me the first time around, and continues to do so today.