Almost 30 years ago, I became a Christian. My journey of faith was the result of an intense year of exploration through a course offered by the Roman Catholic Church called the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA). The program ended just before Easter and I was baptized at the Easter Vigil. When I showed up for church the following morning, the priest was surprised. “You didn’t need to come again!” he exclaimed. Well, I just couldn’t get enough. I loved the ritual. I loved the eucharist. I loved the mystery. I loved the learning. But there was no follow-up after I was baptized. The course ended. I was “done” — I was a Christian.
I became a Sunday-go-to-church Christian. But I was hungry for more. So I went to my priest and asked, “I want to keeping learning, what can I do? How does one pray? I don’t understand the Trinity. What would you suggest I read?” It soon became clear that my questions weren’t welcome. And there wasn’t anything much going on at that church; no ongoing Bible study or instruction.
I talked to people about my dilemma, about my yearning for more. Someone told me about cursillo (which is Spanish for “little course” in Christian studies). So I did the cursillo and then served on a team for the next six years with a group of five women who had done the cursillo as well. We met every week for 18 years to share our lives and our faith journey. All but one were older than me, and they supported me through my parenting years and in my role as a businesswoman and community leader. They were my guideposts.
And then one day, I read about a course in the church’s Sunday bulletin called Heart to Heart Communication. My ears tingled and my heart pounded. Fantastic! I signed up and that launched a 15-year journey into learning Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a process that helped me live out my commitment to integrity and compassion in very real and practical ways. I loved NVC so much that I ended up teaching it to others, especially to other parents.
Every time I felt like I needed to expand and deepen my relationship with God and neighbour, something would catch my attention, in a conversation or in a reading, and I would be given an idea for the next step on my journey. I would identify a need or a longing, and bingo — I would be given a lead, an answer.
One year, I had hardly voiced my desire to learn more about prayer, when I saw an advertisement for an evening exploring different types of prayer. Christopher Page, then the rector at St Philip, Oak Bay, was the presenter. When he started talking about “centering prayer,” my skin tingled and my heart started pounding. Weeks later, I attended an introductory session to learn more, and this form of prayer continues as my daily practice.
God has responded to my yearnings in such concrete, mysterious and wonderful ways for the last three decades. Scripture tells us that when we knock, the door will be opened. I have found this to be true. And so with this in mind, I will be leading the Diocesan Spring Women’s retreat this April, to give participants a taste of the many different disciplines and perspectives I’ve come across in my journey. It is my hope that the retreat will be inspiring, supportive and encouraging to those who attend. Elaina Hyde-Mills, an honorary assistant at St Barnabas, Victoria, will join us as the spiritual director for the weekend. Elaina is a board certified hospital chaplain who is experienced in spiritual care and companionship. As well, she is an associate of the Anglican Order of the Holy Cross.
Draw closer: A weekend journey (from April 21–23) into a more intimate walk with the Divine. Discover different ways to open your heart and experience God’s presence in your life more fully. To register, please download the registration form by clicking here.