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This Lent, our theme is Wandering Heart, where we think about the many roads we've traveled that ultimately lead us to God. As you enjoy this thoughtful reflection by LCR member Sharon Boyles, we invite you to consider your own winding faith journey.


Not all who wander are lost. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


I have a wandering heart. 
I’ve never been able to follow the straight and narrow in life because I am in love with side paths and deer trails. I never got the 9-5 job with the 401K, or the house in the suburbs, or the fancy car.

Instead, I aimed my heart in the direction of the wild blue yonder and went off on wonderful adventures. I’ve lived in five different states and also abroad. I’ve had 250 jobs. I’ve explored different lifestyles and different ways of being. I’ve hung out with people from all walks of life; people different from me. I’ve heard their stories, broken bread with them, and learned their language. I’m incessantly curious and adventurous, forever wanting to explore, try new things, and meet new people.
This is true for me, spiritually, as well. I have not always been a diehard Lutheran. Although I was raised in LCR and embraced my Christian faith growing up, in college I was introduced to other spiritual paths and religions, and I naturally became curious about them. I wasn’t taught about these things growing up, and I wanted to learn more.

I became a spiritual seeker, a spiritual wanderer, stepping out of the faith I’d had all my life and into an exciting time of new discoveries. With every exploration, I gained wisdom, insight, and new spiritual practices that have illuminated and enhanced my friendship with God.
I studied Baha’i, Judaism, Yoga, and Islam, but most of my journey as a seeker was spent in Buddhism. In learning (and leaning) into this spiritual path, I was surprised to discover that it’s a beautiful and devotional path to God. One of the Buddhist practices I love best is praying with mala beads (108 small beads on a knotted string, sort of like a rosary), and singing devotional chants (mantras) to God. I think God adores it when we sing, even if we sound like a croaking bullfrog! Singing and chanting bypass the mind and open the heart to the Mystery.
I also explored Earth/Celtic spirituality. I’ve always been one to connect with God in nature, so going a little deeper with that was a good fit for me. I studied Native prayers and practices, Celtic Christianity prayers and practices, and I spent a LOT of time out on the Land. During my walks in the woods, I would listen for God, sing, pray, and dance (if you’re in the woods and see someone dancing, that would be me). In loving and enjoying Creation, I am encountering God in the cathedral of the trees. 
And then there was my time at St. John Fisher. I was exploring Catholicism when Covid hit and everyone had to stay home and figure out how to cut their own hair. But I had been at St. John long enough to experience how the beautiful symmetry and contemplative nature of Catholicism anchored my soul, especially during weird times (looking at you, Covid). I loved the practice of taking time to pray and connect with God several times a day and the soothing peace of praying the rosary.
Finally, my journey led me back to LCR. When I first returned, I sidled in the door, wondering if I’d be shunned for wandering away or perhaps struck by lightning. But God met me at LCR in a big prodigal-daughter kind of way. Open arms and hugs all around. Everyone greeted me with love, love, and more love, with a whole lot of welcome thrown in. That, my friends, is God in action!
I wandered, but I wasn’t lost. I know and understand things now that I didn’t get before. I have experienced prodigal love and grace. I have diverse prayers and practices that are now an integral part of my spiritual life. And I feel a kinship with people of other faiths. I know that even though their spiritual path may not look like mine, they’re equally as devoted to God, and in the end, that’s all that matters. 
Most of all, I know that God loves me and meets me, whether I’m praying the rosary, chanting Om Mani Padme Hum, receiving Communion, hugging a tree, saying the Nicene creed, singing in the woods, or sitting cross-legged on the floor in Transcendental meditation.
In a wandering heart, there is room for all. 

- Written by Sharon Boyles