Some of the hardest words in the spiritual life began with five words, “The will of God is…” I used to resent those words and the feelings that it restricted my life. God’s will sounded strict, hard, unmovable and joyless in its grave announcement.
A friend of mine who married later in her life gave birth to a son whom Dorothy and Bill named Will. He was never called “junior” but just Will. When I visited their home in northern Wisconsin for a few days, two-year-old Will was in his highchair. At lunch we were talking about what God’s will had been in our lives as adults. Little Will wiggled around in his chair until he was able to stand up and announced, “I am God’s Will!” We laughed hard and told him, “You sure are!”
I never forgot the insight spoken by the two year old. The will of God is active, energetic and aware. It grows and makes for laughter. It reminds us of the young creative self inside rather than a difficult external situation I must endure. We are partners with God to accomplish a living adventure dear to us and to God. Through my life I became aware the “will of God” holds surprises, discovery and delight. When good things happen, it too is God’s will for us. When we experience pleasure, this communicates God to us.
I learned not to restrict the “will of God” to difficult times. In my life as a Sister, a remarkable example of God’s will has been the encouragement I received from my community leadership to return to school for an art degree. With it I have pursued my creative path as a full-time artist. I began a path for my creative talents that the community had noticed and wanted me to explore. This, too, has been God’s will for me. It is a great adventure that might have been missed by me if I only saw God’s will to be the difficult hardships. I have what is good, delightful, fun and creative in its expression for me and for the community. God’s will is a grace in my life and a gift for many other people who enjoy the art I make.
By Sr. Karlyn Cauley, SDS