At a time.

When there’s nothing else to say, risking ending with an empty platitude, I said, “One day at a time, right?”

This year I’ve been taking courses learning how to be a spiritual director. The material we read is about higher things and inner movements, and their intersection with our daily life – our life with God. The lessons are not only rooted in this material but are focused on how to use this information to best accompany someone else on their spiritual journey. We have weekly reading and reflection questions as we grow to better understand the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Our reflection questions often ask, “How do you plan to introduce this to someone else?”

As a teacher, I’ve often been told that when a student can teach the concept to the class, then they truly understand it. This question issues that challenge.

I wrestle with the way I’ll invite people to different experiences of prayer while allowing freedom for the time to be theirs, not overly shaped by my guidance.

As I reflect on the time I’ve spent in spaces that have achieved this balance – on retreats, long drives, walks, or meetings – with students, fellow school community members, friends, and loved ones, I keep coming back to the conclusions of these conversations.

Many of the memorable healers, helpers, listeners, directors, and mentors in my life all have something in common – the way they conclude our time together always includes a pearl of wisdom.

Be good to yourself.

Take good care.

I’m with you.

Until next time, my friend.

Go with grace.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Remember who you are.

What will be the pearl I share?

I want to make sure it’s not cliché. I want it to be a launching pad or a nudge in the right direction.

Like this Bob Ross, quote I want to have something that is simple and helpful.

After speaking with a newly sober friend, they recently closed a conversation with, “One day at a time, right?” This wasn’t something original or flashy, they simply shared what was the most salient message.

It stuck with me because sometimes I spend so much time trying to think of the right thing to say, something unique, when someone else has simply said it better.

There’s nothing wrong with the repetition and the reaffirmation.

Even further, I was left to spend time with their words, a phrase that is so widely known, and reflect on what it means to me. Some days it might be one hour at a time whether this applies to stress, sobriety, or maybe even something we tell ourselves in the morning like, “Today, I’m going to keep an open mind.” When we make a mistake, it’s tempting to act as if all is lost but the reality is, as long as we’re alive, we have another chance – even if the chance isn’t exactly how we had planned. Often these goals are best pursued, one step, one hour, one day at a time.

In the end, it isn’t the advice I give or the memorable statement, it’s up to me to listen, share when helpful, and ultimately, even if I’m not the author, even if it could be considered a platitude by some, pass on what could be a pearl of wisdom.


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