Seeking detachment from the way things were Print
Everyday Faith
Thursday, Jun. 11, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

My daughter's yearbook arrived the other day.

Brimming with colorful photos of smiling students and teachers at various gatherings, it filled me with not only the nostalgia that always accompanies the end of the school year but with a yearning for the way things used to be, before masks and social distancing.

And I ponder how times have changed.

Missing past summers

Fondly, I remember all of last summer's carefree experiences of berry picking, hiking through the woods, attending library programs, swimming at the pool, camping on Lake Superior and at various state parks, tubing on Crystal River, enjoying a water park in Wisconsin Dells, and visiting family and friends throughout the Midwest.

But this summer will be different.

And with a great effort of willful detachment, I struggle to let go and embrace a different kind of summer -- not one of carefree day trips to everywhere but one of simple days close to home. It will be a humble summer of honest introspection, focus on prayer, and a true dependence on God's plans for our future.

A simple summer

Amid COVID-19 concerns and continued turmoil throughout the nation, my heart awakens sad each day as I watch the world we knew seem to fall apart.

Not long ago, I lived in blessed ignorance, thinking I was in control of most parts of my daily life. Now, an uneasy uncertainty about the future has melted away that soft foundation of ignorance.

Yet, I am not unique. Millions of people have always faced daily uncertainty -- the poor, the marginalized, the sick.

My prayer now is not only for the strength to carry my own cross of uncertainty during these confusing times, but for the grace to open my heart further to understanding the plight of others.

No matter our crosses, strive to see them as opportunities to grow in faith and cling to Our Lord, who will never abandon us.

Each of us was put on this earth to live at exactly this moment in history.

Open your heart to God

Listen with your heart, then, to what God is calling you to at this very time. How can you best help your neighbor, your family members, your children? How can you, in a spirit of detachment from the way things were, grow closer to Him?

"This time the trial has been long. Perhaps -- and without the perhaps -- you haven't borne it well so far, for you were still seeking human consolations. But your Father God has torn them out by the roots so as to leave you no other refuge but him," said St. Josemaria Escriva in The Way (#722).

St. Josemaria Escriva also reminds us: "Be humble; don't seek yourself; don't seek your own satisfaction. Love the cross – to bear it is little – and our Lord will hear your prayer. And in time, calm will be restored to your senses. And your heart will heal, and you will have peace" (The Way, #726).

In this time of nostalgia for happier times, and on the brink of a new tomorrow, step into a simpler summer with a fresh hope of  -- and fervent prayer for -- growing closer than ever to Our Lord.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.