Just thought I might share a few words used earlier at Mass in Kilmovee.  A sort of a ramble, in ways, but hopefully it makes a bit of sense!!

When we were in Maynooth one of our deans told us quite early on that the gates were always open and that we could leave anytime we wanted.  He wasn’t encouraging us to leave (at least I don’t think he was!!) but rather letting us know that there was no pressure on us to stay in Maynooth if ever we felt it wasn’t for us.  I think he was saying there was no shame in coming to an awareness that maybe priesthood was not our calling and that we could decide to go home at any stage.  However, he made one additional comment, “Don’t decide to leave when you’re feeling low”.  In other words, it’s not a good idea to make a major decision in life if we are feeling down, disappointed or seriously confused.  The clearer the mind, the more balanced the mind, quite likely the better the decision and the more likely it is to reflect the truth and appropriateness of the choice made.

I decided about three weeks ago to take some swimming lessons in the local pool.  It’s something I had thought of doing for a while since I think it would be good to be able to swim a little.  The Kilmovee Pool is a real asset in the community and I am amazed that so many of our younger people can swim effortlessly and that quite a number of them have life-saving certificates and skills.  Anyway, thought I’d give it a go and the idea of one week of classes appealed to me rather than having to think five weeks ahead and one night a week.  On the Monday night I was genuinely afraid to even get into the water.  I know that’s not something to be proud of but it’s true.  In any case I did get in and wasn’t totally ill at ease.  Each night seemed to bring me a bit further though I wasn’t overly confident. What amazed and disappointed me was that the last night was by far the worst!  I seemed to forget everything I had learned and quite literally lost my nerve.  The instructor tried to reassure me that I was doing well but I knew I wasn’t. Then he told me “If things aren’t going well for you, go back a few steps”.  It made sense – I think he was saying, that I should go back to where I had a bit of confidence and build from that point.

Microsoft has a programme built into its Windows System called “System Restore” and it is intended to help us when we come again that wall of a frozen screen and when Ctrl/Alt/Delete is not doing the trick.  Basically it offers us the chance to go back in time to a day when the computer was working as it should and to restore to that moment in time.  This seems to work in most cases and the computer generally boots up and works fine.  Like the swimming instructor’s advice, it’s a way of going back to when things were better and working from there again.

So too, I think, in many of life’s situations we might do well to back to a better time and rebuild from there.  I am sometimes amazed and saddened that people have rows and that moment of rowing or difficulty becomes the yardstick for all that happens from that point on.  I know it’s not always simple or easily done but wonder is there any possibility, at least in some cases, that people could go back beyond the row to a time when things were working better?

I’m not so sure about swimming right now but chances are I’ll have another go at some stage.  For now, maybe I can do no better than go back a few steps …..

Hopefully this makes a bit of sense!!


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