Spiritual Exercises Week 1:Day 1 - Blessed History: Sweet Memories of Childhood

Week ONE goes through my Blessed History.  The passages are: Ps 103:2-5, 139:1-16; Is 25:6-9, 43:1-7, 63:7-15; Jer 18:1-6, and Lk 12:22-34. 

Day 1 was deeper meditation in Psalm 103. Then I took my candle next to the fireplace and listened to God's voice about my childhood/youth. Wow. Such gratitude. Even the hard things I am grateful for.  I listened to Ps 139 and Is 43 too. So precious. Meditations for throughout the day. 

Memory Flood:

Time on the boat and writing about it 15 years ago and my brother crying. Such sweet times with our family and their friends. Being on water is so sweet to me. (I get to go on the waters of the Rhine in three days, it is a peaceful happy place for me.)

My dad's leadership - As a father. As a friend. He was the ring leader everywhere he went. Did anyone not like him? He had WOO (Winning Others Over). 

I told a story about Dad to Michael (awesome oldest son) Friday. About how I went into the garage knowing that my dad wanted me to put pin stripes on my Honda Civic (it was the 70s and pin stripes on vehicles were all the rage) bound and determined NOT to have them (why - what's the point of them?). My dad's sweet salesmanship. I have a vivid memory of him hugging the sides of my white Honda and encouraging me to imagine that smooth stripe.

Somehow, I walked out with pin stripes on my Honda. 

(Michael laughed hysterically at this as I acted it out - I see some of my dad in both my children. Michael with his discipline and go for it attitude despite obstacles in his way. Paul with his investigative mind and wisdom.) 

Dad's lure was legend. He could talk you into anything. He used to say, "Stick with me, and I will have you wearing burlap." Those curious sayings that you didn't quite understand as a kid. It was not manipulative. You wanted to follow him because it really wasn't burlap - it was a smooth, silk sheet everywhere you went, soft against your skin. 

Life was fun and exciting, and Dad was good. He knew good things for us. Rolling up a sleeping bag and wanting to get it so tight that it would fit in the exact spot that dad had designated for it everytime he packed for a trip. (When we brought the boat, it was tucked under a seat.) Memory of him overseeing a contest with my brother to see who could roll their sleeping bag the tightest.  Who won? I don't remember. It didn't matter who won because my dad just made it fun.

Everything had a place (pots lined with foam so as to not make noise in the camper while we drove), but he wasn't OCD about it. He was just precise, applying his engineering mind to pratical problems, and you wanted to please him. But it was not in a neurotic people-pleasing way. I wanted to "stick with him" because it really wasn't like wearing burlap. It was a nice silk sheet or better yet:

A warm, soft blanket wrapping me with love and warmth. 

That was my dad. I think he was a healthy 8 on the Enneagram (man on a mission - assertive) but tempered with the healthy 7 wing of joy and fun and the 9 wing of peace and love. Integrated to a 2 who was so helpful when anyone needed it. 

Memory of stopping our early morning ski ride to tow a houseboat that had overturned in the water overnight causing all the people and contents of the brand new, fully equip houseboat to fall into the shallow water just off shore. We came upon them, drenched and dazed, standing on shore after they woke up in the water. No one died. Which is a miracle. 

My dad was the second miracle. They must have thought my dad was a visiting angel. Standing at 6 feet 8 inches tall, he must have been like the ones the shepherds saw. Large and looming but delivering a good message of great joy. Salvation for the stranded houseboat occupants in a remote location on a large lake before cell phones.

Dad took charge. Enlisting the other two boats we were skiing with, he tied three lines, dad in the middle and the other two on each side, we pulled the upside down houseboat, so it would not sway back and forth during the tow, to the nearest boat launch. It took HOURS. But it was my dad's leadership executed flawlessly and joyfully. I have never been so happy and excited to spend three hours in the California summer sun accomplishing something as important as loving your neighbor as yourself. One of many sweet memories from my childhood. "He fills your life with GOOD things, flying like an eagle" in service (Ps 103:5). 

With no desire to retrieve their losses, the owners said to dive for anything we wanted that had fallen into the water. So, loving your neighbor turned into a big blessing:

Diving for buried treasure! 

Our booty: 40 cans of POP, a Sears Die Hard battery (that my dad brought back for a refund of the full price), numerous 8 track tapes that we dried out in the sun and were able to play for years to come (until 8 tracks gave way to cassettes), brand new pots and pans for mom. There was something for everyone in that treasure. 

But something deeper still than any material treasure was had here. "Give and it shall be given to you. Good measure, pressed down and shaken together, it will pour into your lap" (Luke 6:38). My dad "cast bread upon the WATER," not expecting anything return, but it returned to us in. . . 

The pure blessings and JOY of service and

A life lesson learned for a little girl in a boat with her dad.

Yes, he has filled my life with GOOD things, very good things (Ps 103:2-5). 

About the Spiritual Exercises:

I am leading two women through the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola this year. (If you want to know more or would like to be guided through them, email or Facebook me.) I did the 19th annotation from September 2018 - May 2019 and then did the shorter 18th annotation until late June. Between June and today, I went through Kenneth Boa's Sacred Readings, The Trinity, and Historic Creeds. Now, after meeting with one of my directees and her experience of the Exercises, I want to do them again. I can never tire of them, and they are so great to go through during Advent and Lent. Steeping through Scripture and the life of Jesus can only be GOOD! 


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