Two years ago I tried on a favorite little black dress.
I loved this dress for its simplicity and flexibility. It’s not in the least bit fussy or fancy and whether a high heel, kitten heel, sandal or sporty sneaker this dress can carry off the perfect look – no matter the occasion! This dress has hung in my closet for more years than the store it was purchased at lasted, as it has gone out of business long ago.
My LBD has traveled with me through 3 house moves & spanned the course of numerous fashion trends! Most importantly, if I am ever in doubt of “what to wear” it’s always been my constant “safe choice.”
Choose a shoe, match a hand-bag and off I go!
But then one day, as I pulled this magical garment from the closet to wear for an impromptu dinner with friends, the unthinkable happened.
It no longer fit properly!
Convinced at first it must not have been correctly laundered after wearing the last time – I eventually had to face the bitter reality it was not the shape of the dress that had changed, but rather the change occurred with my developing menopausal shape instead.
Not willing to part with my LBD just yet, (we’d been through SO MUCH together throughout the years,) I decided instead to tuck it safely into the back of the closet for the time being while I assessed my “change in shape” and determined to make some adjustments. What I was currently doing regarding my health obviously was no longer working.
Fitness is funny that way, isn’t it?
The natural bi-products of aging absolutely adds to the hilarity of it all too, right?!!
The reality check for me in that moment was that my physical body was changing – hormonally there were things going on I was not in control of – and yet I was not making any adjustments to ease or assist with the physical angst of it all. I simply continued doing the same things, eating the same way, expecting the same results.
This is how I have been with my spiritual fitness at times, too . A spiritual angst will set in and I will ignore the symptoms until something glaring stares back at me that I cannot ignore. These are signs to me that my spirit is changing shape. And much like the ill-fitting dress – this is not necessarily a BAD thing, in as much as it is something which deserves examining – to properly discern if adjustments need to be made.
The COVID shut-down was my most recent “little black dress” reality check in my prayer life. Much like the hormonal changes, I had no control over this. I had to make changes because the shut-down changed the shape of where; therefore how, I could pray. My morning prayer was affected the most. No longer could I spend the quiet time in our Parish Chapel praying there, alone with my God, prior to the start of Daily Mass; however, even as the COVID restrictions mounted in scope & I spent more time ALONE than ever, the silence when praying actually became deafening – and I was no longer hearing God, nor responding intimately with Him during this time of prayer! As a result, I recognized my spiritual shape had changed.
My God was calling me to make adjustments.
God has done this several times with me before. I’m not sure if it’s His sense of humor, or a way to get me to pay attention, but it really is effective either way! Giggles.
The very first time I recognized my spiritual fitness needed an adjustment was soon after our second child, our sweet daughter, was born. Prior to her birth I also sought out similar quiet moments to pray alone. Waking early before everyone else in the household started to fully engage in the day, during nap times of our first born, or late at night after the house had quieted down once again. However, as every mother can attest, adding a second child to the mix made these quiet solitary moments much more difficult to carve out. I remember becoming so frustrated that I truly imagined I would never have a personal prayer life with God again, until the kids at least all went off to college!
Pretty dramatic, right??
But it was in that dramatic moment, that God sent me my first spiritual fitness evaluation, through the inadvertent sharing of a friend. I was bemoaning my prayer-time frustration while chatting with her one day, when she simply shared how she often prayed the rosary while breast-feeding.
“What??? You did what, WHEN??”
I remember being so fascinated that it was possible to pray while doing something.
And how actually the act itself – often times enhanced the prayer all the more!
Talk about a shape change of prayer!
From that moment on I was more open to God directing my time of prayer to be at the time & in the place that He directed….not me.
And I can attest now, after all these many years of praying & despite the course of numerous fashionable prayer trends that have spanned the test of time; no matter HOW or WHERE my prayer takes places, He sanctifies it and makes it holy.
Fast forward to COVID with all the red, yellow, and green implications that have come with it – and it all became the perfect storm for another LBD spiritual fitness assessment, (for me.)
As well as, (if you can imagine,) another dramatic reaction to go with it!
“RIGHT NOW, Lord?”
“Haven’t I enough change to contend with, but You want to mess with my prayer life now, too??”
Recently, on June 24, 2020 during his general audience talk, Pope Francis said, “In life’s ups and downs, make prayer your constant.” Because prayer “is able to ensure the relationship with God, who is the true Companion of man’s journey, in the midst of the many hardships of life: good or bad.”
I love this!
And I feel as if he is speaking directly to me.
Because I know it to be true.
Despite the shape of my life, physically or spiritually, with all the ups and downs, keeping prayer constant is all that is ever important.
And just like that little black dress hanging in the back of my closet – my prayer life fits once again! But more importantly continues to remain there – as a wonderful, constant reminder of what a “safe choice” prayer
will always be!
hugs n’ blessings to all those working on their spiritual fitness, no matter WHAT shape they are in!
*A final personal note: I hope this post may serve as an inspiration to others who might perhaps be searching for a means to pray to Our Lord -especially at a time such as this in our World. I was inspired to write because of the life-changing impact a friend made upon me, many years ago, as I was searching for “how to fit prayer into my dis-shelveled life.” She risked her own self to share the methods in which she prayed & I pray that my own awkward sharing inspires one soul to find their way too. Only & All for His glory.