Speaking truthfully and living with intention

Dianne and I have recently made a major life change. We moved from Saginaw, Michigan, where we resided for 33 years, to live with the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters in Illinois. The packing seemed endless: examining every object in our house and deciding whether to keep it or let it go.

After successfully boxing our possessions with the help of friends and watching the moving van pull away from the house, it was time to take one last look at the home we knew. Without our things, the house did not have the familiar homey atmosphere that I usually felt whenever I walked in. Empty and clean, it was ready for new occupants and it was time for us to depart.

Moving van

As we pulled out of the driveway and turned toward the freeway, I felt numb. We didn’t talk during the five-hour drive to Wheaton, lost in our own thoughts. I only heard a few directional words from the GPS as I pondered our new life.

We had some idea of the atmosphere of the place we were going. We had visited the sisters a few times and their community felt like a good match for us. However, we did not know what this stage of our life would bring or what challenges were in store for us.

Gratefully, we have been warmly received and the sisters have helped us to feel at home. The stress of packing, moving, and unpacking is behind us. We are now reorganizing our lives both internally as well as externally.

As I think about this amazing time of transition, I’m both threatened by it and desire it. What will I choose? Will I choose to do something new or let familiar patterns set in?

I’m no longer building a career or embarking upon a significant initiative. The heavy lifting of life’s responsibility is past. During my busy life in Saginaw, I didn’t notice myself aging. My gray hair grew in gradually. Then noticeable changes began manifesting themselves: cataracts, joint surgery, arthritis, and so on. These conditions can be managed, although I know the direction my health is eventually going.

Living in a religious community with others can be nurturing. What draws us together is our commitment to the cultivation and growth of our spiritual experience. Together we are watchful and aware of the sunlight of the Spirit as it permeates our lives.

How would I describe my desire for the sunlight of the Spirit in my life? Fundamentally, it is to recognize and be a force for good for those I live with and to fully cooperate with that goodness. I believe this cooperation will bring me into alignment with the Spirit, who gently guides me along the way.

As I begin this new chapter in my life, I choose to focus my intention on “being my words.” I aim to speak honestly, sincerely, and truthfully. I want to say what I mean and not knowingly say what is untrue, avoiding any temptation to play the games of the world for success. What kind of empty success would that be if gained through falsehood?

Sometimes I am tempted to slant my words or bend the facts for some kind of gain. Maybe I want to win admiration or show off or be humorous at another’s expense. These subtle ways of speaking falsely compromise my integrity and serve no one. I want to speak with intention, assured that my message is accurate and truthful.

Or course, that doesn’t mean to speak the truth no matter what happens or who is hurt. Rather, I want to express the truth as I perceive it while continuing to be open to different perspectives and modifications to my understanding. As I reflect on this attitude, I wonder how it will feel. Will I feel okay without shining a light on myself?

This sounds like a question that bubbled up during my sophomore year in college, as I was deciding how I would live in the adult world ahead of me. After many years of trying different ways of being myself, now the question is different. How can I more authentically be who I am today?

Leaving Saginaw and those many years of blessings, I am still making thoughtful choices about what to pack and what to let go. By setting aside habits that are no longer useful, I can focus my intention on being truthful and inviting the sunshine of the Spirit to be ever-present in my new home.

Your Companions in Prayer,

Sisters Dianne and Laura

St. Clare Day

On August 11th we celebrate our founder, Saint Clare. In gratitude for your friendship, blessings, and support, we always remember you in our daily prayers. Please keep us in your prayers as well.

We wish you this blessing of Saint Clare:

“May God always be with you, and may you always be with God.”

St. Clare of Assisi

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