41 years old. Teresa is 41 when she finally starts to learn how to really pray. She’s 43 before she does anything radical…like start a new convent…or write a book. She gets into a spiritual community at age 16…and it takes a long time to get somewhere. But she sticks with it.
Sometimes it takes a long time to get anywhere spiritually. We get all caught up in results-oriented thinking. And we get convinced that nothing is happening. We get convinced that our failures aren’t getting us anywhere. We think that whatever way we were pigeon-holed or stereotyped or categorized has to be the way things are or how we’re thought of…and that’s just not true. All of those things might just be stray paths we’ve taken in the pursuit of learning to be who we really are…
Teresa would say, “To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience.”
My supposition is that all along the journey, Teresa was changing. God was doing something even when she didn’t feel like God was doing something. She remained in partnership with him…she grew…she developed …then she blossomed.
“Praised be the Lord, who has redeemed me from myself.”
She wasn’t afraid to pick her spiritual life back up and try again. She wasn’t afraid to try something new. She wasn’t afraid to connect in a new way, to experience a new thing, to not understand and embrace the mystery anyway. It was a long journey toward transformation.