Wednesday 4 December 2019

A Chance to Pause and Reflect

It’s tempting to think of life as a race; that somewhere down the track there’s a black and white checkered banner that, at some indeterminate point in the future, we’ll burst through and it will all be done and we can stop and savour our long race. But it doesn’t work that way. Life isn’t a race, won or lost in one circle of a track. It’s one long journey, with a whole lot of (interesting / scary / wonderful / awful / amazing / monotonous / incredible / choose your current state here) detours. We never truly arrive, we can only pause and reflect on which path we’ll take, when next the road forks in front of us.

That’s what Advent is for. That’s what the summer holidays are for. A chance to pause and reflect on what this year has meant and where we are on our journey at this moment and to have some idea of which way we want to go at the next decision point.

Mary and Joseph knew that on their way towards Bethlehem. If we’re honest and reflective, we know that on the arc of our journey, no road truly ends. It only splits and we have to choose which direction we’ll go this time, and be at peace that whatever lies in that direction, it won’t be what we expect.

It will be better.


The world moves on. The earth spins. School ends, we all collapse and hope no one notices us until we’ve had a chance to recover just a little bit. Worn out by a long road. Which may not be a bad place to be during Advent.

Star trail shots always heighten that sense of a world in motion for me. Right now, I’m ready for the world to slow down. Just when we should be slowing down, life dictates we speed up.

Rather than focusing on all the things we can’t get done right now, we can just take one moment and be grateful for the things that we’ve received this past year that make us more who we are. What gift from another person are you grateful for right now?

Fr Jack McLain SJ