It has been a challenging week.  Several different cases occupying large swaths of scarce time and mind numbing research into legal knots that I candidly have no organic interest in.  I sat across from a client this week and delivered bad news in a case that has been ongoing for several years now.  It is very difficult sometimes to not absorb the emotional distress of clients when you care about them.  Yet I remain grateful for good clients and law partners.  You practice with good men when they drag you out of the office for afternoon coffee because they can tell you need a break.

Very interesting reading from Oswald Chambers this morning which discusses the unpopular reality that we will not always be comforted by divine inspiration.  I constantly seek and expect it.  One of my favorite prayers is attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola.  He quite directly asks the creator to orient all of his actions by divine inspiration.  From the first time I heard those words, they burned themselves into my consciousness.  Perhaps it is because at many points in my life I have felt so spiritually unmoored.  I feel entitled now to be spiritually inspired at all times - I ask of God - what else is the purpose of faith?   

I ran across some commentary on the recently popularized poem by William Henley, Invictus.  I'd been inspired by this poem in times of personal trial because it emphasized my own ability to direct my life.  As I read it again, I am humored by my arrogance.  In the time since I was drawn to Invictus, my perspective has changed considerably.  If I am the Captain of anything, much less my soul, there is cause for concern. I did manage once to crash a sailboat (being moved by trailer on land no less, so I do not make this observation strictly as metaphor).  My good friend Robert Brown can attest to this.

I am more convinced and accepting these days that I will not always feel divinely inspired and that this does not mean that my contact has been severed.  I am not spiritually entitled to anything save perhaps free will.  It is expected that I walk by faith and not with expectation that I will always feel the peace that is so often liberally granted me.  This does not mean that I cannot bear fruit even in the absence of inspiration.  I am called to remember that I cannot bear fruit if I do not seek Him out and strive to invoke Christ in everything I think, touch, and do.

I was chilled to read tonight that Timothy McVeigh's last written words were those of Henley's poem.  My arrogance has surely matched his in believing that my purpose is seeking little more than my own comfort.  I am grateful these days that the thought of being out of His light is more frightening than the thought of being without the chains of my depravity. 

I will leave you with a poetic response to Henley's work by Dorothea Day. 

My Captain

Out of the night that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.
Since His the sway of circumstance,
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under that rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him! And His the aid,
Despite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.
I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared from punishment the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate,
Christ is the Captain of my soul.

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