How often do we find ourselves in life tense to the point of frustration? When we really could scream at others for the smallest reason. When we seem to have no patience for anything.

The ability to tolerate difficulties and pressure varies considerably from one person to another. Don’t you get irritated by those folks who never seem to get phased by anything, as if God gave them an unlimited supply of patience and understanding? When was I when that particular form of grace was being doled out. Perhaps I didn’t get the wake-up call, or I showed up at the wrong location?

It seems when we come under pressure, particularly pressures where we are unwilling to communicate it to others; for whatever reason … we let it build up. Like steam in a container, the heat increases with the pressure. On the outside, it looks like all is well, but inside the liquid is turning to vapor.

When I look back on situations when this weight affects me, I liken it to folding up a piece of paper. Not in a good logical way, like perhaps creation of some wonder of origami, but more like a paper grabbed by the hand in scrunched up in a ball. It is still a piece of paper, but it now cannot perform its function as it has all folded in on itself.

While logic can sometimes help to return us to a better place, it is often not the case. We are often so emotionally charged by the frustration which has built up inside us, and are unwilling to submit to whatever realities are facing us. In my own case, the more I try and deal with all these problems without help, the more I found myself folding in on myself.

As the folding and resistance increases, we become less able to see a way out of the situation, until perhaps eventually, events take over to release change the tension. It might be a health scare, stress, depression, financial failure, emotional dryness, the list is long.

So what to do. Well, one place to start is to have that soul unfold again. Many of these problems are based on a spiritual disposition that is not recognized. We are being closed instead of open. Unwilling instead of willing. Resistant rather than compliant.

Prayer, particularly prayer without an agenda can help us here. This is a time to remember St. Augustine’s quote of “my soul is restless, till it rests in thee.” Of us simply allowing ourselves to unfold in the presence of God.

What were, or are the fishing tangles of your life? The screwed up balls of paper? The angry remnants of relationships broken but not repaired?

Contemplation and meditation can be a helping hand which we may be ignoring. After all, silence is the language of God.

An Unfolding Soul


An Unfolding Soul

Let me out of this fishing line tangle,

Of this knotted gut,

And this un-ironed selfishness which caused me to become this ball of paper;

Now both fragile and tense,

I curl up in my own self-interest.


So, let me unfold.

One corner at a time,

Stretching the scrunched up parts until all creases are smooth,

Revealing the parts of me which have become concealed to others,

Even myself.


Let me be open once more,

Willing to written on,


Directed without agenda.


And see the face of God once more,

Merely by unfolding my resistance.

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