Tony Rossi, Director of Communications
Becky Eldredge, author of “The Inner Chapel: Embracing the Promises of God,” has been able to commune with God in the quiet, sacred space inside herself through practices found in Ignatian spirituality—and she has helped many others do the same in her work as a spiritual director. But life brings challenging times for everyone when God is hard to see, and that was the case when Becky’s beloved grandfather, who she called Boppy, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. In time, however, she was able to discern God’s presence once again.
During a “Christopher Closeup” interview, Becky told me, “There comes this moment where everything is stripped away, where he knew death was coming and nothing physical or tangible could come with him. He came up out of complete poverty and had created his own business. And when it comes down to this, none of that actually matters. What matters is [his observation], ‘God is with me, and God has my loved ones when I leave.’”
One particular moment of joy stands out for Becky. After surgery to remove a tumor, her grandfather began belting out Kris Kristofferson’s classic song of gratitude “Why Me, Lord?” in the hospital. She said, “He was singing it, I was singing it, and it was this moment of him understanding that God is here. This is what the resurrection is…Even though [Boppy] still had a few months to live after that moment, it was like watching [his] new life in Christ. It was this new understanding of hope, of all the gifts of his life, all God had done for him, and it propelled him through those last moments with this spirit of generosity. It was generosity of time, of letting people know how he felt about them…I got to ask him, what do you want people to understand? He said, ‘First, for us to learn to be gracious receivers, and then to be generous givers.’”
Becky’s grandmother has been another generous giver in her life. And on a lighter note, Becky recalled wanting to learn to make her grandmother’s Crawfish Étouffée, so she asked for the recipe. But her grandmother never measured ingredients so the recipe she gave Becky was a little too freeform to turn out edible. Becky decided to take another approach. She went to her grandmother’s house to cook the Étouffée with her, and measure everything as they went along. This time it turned out great, and Becky saw the experience as a metaphor for prayer.
She said, “When I think about how we learn how to pray, it’s similar. We learn, there’s not this exact formula that we can give, spelled out like a recipe. There are some foundational elements. But then the rest is like learning Cajun cooking. It’s an art to learning the ways God invites us into new seasons of prayer. And we need people to come alongside us sometimes and teach us a new way.”
Reading “The Inner Chapel” might be what you need to teach you a new way and give you a spiritual boost. Summarizing her hopes for people who read the book, Becky concluded, “My hopes would be they have a deeper understanding that they’re not alone, that God is always with them. And second would be that one of the prayer exercises in it brings them a little deeper in their walk with Christ, that they understand a little bit more one of these promises that’s available to every one of us.”
For free copies of the Christopher News Note SEEKING GOD’S PEACE IN TROUBLED TIMES, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org