Questions to ask at the end of the year

I have often been compared to a duck. Specifically: to a duck floating serenely on top of the water, while beneath the surface her little legs are paddling furiously to keep afloat, to move in the right direction. Because this is Valpo, I’m guessing that you can see something of yourself in that metaphor too – especially this time of year.

So let’s stop paddling for a moment.

The Celebrate! student leadership team gave me a preaching assignment for this week: to lead everyone through a year-end reflection around the question “How did you see God this year?” 

While we’re paddling, we still notice God – God in the comfort, God in the affliction; God in the questions and God in the answers; God in the moments.

But these student leaders are inviting us to take an actual break and look at the big picture. Can we stitch together all our disparate God-moments into a story of how God has been with us? A story of what we have been through, what we have overcome, how we have changed, what joys have delighted us? 

So, following the students’ lead, I invite you to actually take a moment. Do it now if you can, or schedule it in for later. Give yourself the time to stop paddling, stop trying to keep up, and recognize all that you have done and all that you have been through – and the many ways that God has been working in your life all along the way.

As an aid in your reflection, I offer you this poem. Notice which questions grab your attention – that may be a sign of what the Spirit is doing in your heart and in your life.

At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions by John O’Donohue 1

What dreams did I create last night?

Where did my eyes linger today?

Where was I blind?

Where was I hurt without anyone noticing?

What did I learn today?

What did I read?

What new thoughts visited me?

What differences did I notice in those closest to me?

Whom did I neglect?

Where did I neglect myself?

What did I begin today that might endure?

How were my conversations?

What did I do today for the poor and the excluded?

Did I remember the dead today?

Where could I have exposed myself to the risk of something different?

Where did I allow myself to receive love?

With whom today did I feel most myself?

What reached me today? How deep did it imprint?

Who saw me today?

What visitations had I from the past and from the future?

What did I avoid today?

From the evidence – why was I given this day?

+Pr Kate

May 3, 2023

 1John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, (New York: Doubleday, 2008), p. 98.