In recent ruminations, I have thought a lot about distinctions of space and the permanence of personal reflection. For a while, I was caught in a cycle where I continually encountered the same struggles and devised solutions in my reflections, but they never seemed to stick; thus, the cycle. Why were my reflections not sinking in? Why did I forget them so easily?
Additionally, merging school and home was not in the least bit helpful or healthy for me. There was no distinction in time or space between the two; and whenever I spent time with my family, I felt I was neglecting my duty to my schoolwork. But whenever I devoted hours to schoolwork, it seemed I was rejecting my family. And God forbid I take time for myself, disregarding both responsibilities in this season of opportunity to pour myself out for both!
When I finally left the house to pray in a nearby church, I realized the value of a commute. I need the drive to work or the walk to class so I can clear my head and process the movements of the Spirit in my life. I need to have the excuse to gaze at the sky; I need it to prompt me to think of its wonderful maker. However, the commute itself is not the necessary thing. Rather, I need to tend to the room for Christ that is built in my heart.
Meditating on my reflections on repeat, I had clearly not internalized the fruits of my thoughts. My commutes, it seems, not only transported me from one location to another, but also acted as the hammer to drive in nails on which I would hang new fixtures of spiritual reflection. Lacking my usual tools, none of my conclusions were permanent. Instead of hanging a heavy thought on solid nails, I was hastily slathering Elmer’s glue on its back.
It should be no surprise, then, that the adhesive did not last long, and my reflections did not remain. The short mental breaks of my commutes were opportunities to return to the home I was building for the Lord and dust things off, or sit with him for a minute. The transitions to other activities allowed me to deposit thoughts I had gleaned for further reflection and place them in context with all the other furnishings of the space. Did a certain attitude or reaction of mine fit with the décor? Would Christ appreciate such a fixture, or was it unfitting? I could take the time to evaluate the happenings of my life and toss out my own poor responses as I moved forward if I recognized that they did not belong.
Many people have taken advantage of this time to work on home-improvement projects, but I allowed the most important home to fall into disrepair. Rather than repeating this mistake, let us reflect on our lives such that our resolutions remain. We must be aware of God’s deep desire to permeate our lives and welcome him into our hearts. With the words of St. Teresa of Avila’s beautiful poem, let us plead, “Lord, make my soul Thine own abode / and I will build a nest so sweet / It may not be too poor for God.” Let us remember to build the room for Christ throughout the day by taking time for silence and prayer, by seizing opportunities for reflection such as commutes. Let us not forget the hammer simply because no one handed it to us; we must find new ways to tend to Christ’s home in our hearts.