This is always a challenging idea. I am never sure if I truly know myself. As I progress in age, I am reflecting on my life, my present circumstances, and my future on this earth. Questions always arise as to what my true nature is. I was reading a passage from the Plough journal and came across this by M. Basil Pennington; I want to share the entire passage with you:
Unfortunately, in seeing ourselves as we truly are, not all that we see is beautiful and attractive. This is undoubtedly part of the reason we flee silence. We do not want to be confronted with our hypocrisy, our phoniness. We see how false and fragile is the false self we project. We have to go through this painful experience to come to our true self. It is a harrowing journey, a death to self – the false self – and no one wants to die. But it is the only path to life, to freedom, to peace, to true love. And it begins with silence. We cannot give ourselves in love if we do not know and possess ourselves. This is the great value of silence. It is the pathway to all we truly want. (from: A Place Apart)
I am due to retire at the end of April, and I am confronted by what I will do for the remainder of my life. However, to really discern what my future will be, I must reach deep inside me to discover what God has planned for me. Pennington mentions silence. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to find true silence. Even when the house is quiet and my wife has gone to bed for the night, I can sit in relative silence to meditate. But I don’t think that this is the silence that Pennington speaks of. I think that true silence is when I clear my mind of all thoughts, thoughts of the just ended day, thoughts of what I must do in my duties as a vestryman and a prayer leader at my church. With a congregation exceeding 1500 souls, it is extremely difficult to rid my mind of ongoing concerns for those I love. I know I must do this to truly find the path that God wants.
I turn 75 on April 7th; I have many years to serve my fellow man. I know that the service that I undertake will be led by God and that what I do will bring peace to those in my spiritual care.