Jim Corkery, S.J. (the character – and I use the word advisedly! – you see at left) is the person who – so far – has given me the best advice I ever received. He told me to leave the living room and go into the kitchen.
Obviously, I need to give you a little context for you to understand why that was the best advice. It was midwinter 1992 and I was alone on my annual retreat in a Jesuit house deep in rural Upstate New York. I was incredibly conflicted about whether or not to return to Japan after my graduate studies finished and was trying to discern God’s Will.
My retreat director’s mother took ill and he went off to Pennsylvania to look after her. I was on my own and slowly going round the bend, trying to figure it all out. By the 6th day (of 8), I simply had to talk to someone so I called Jim, a fellow Irish Jesuit who was then studying at Catholic U. in D.C. He listened to me angst for quite a while and then said, “It seems to me that you’re in the living room repeating over and over to yourself, ‘I should go back to Japan,’ ‘I must go back to Japan,’ and ‘It’s my duty to go back to Japan.’ Jesus may or may not want you to go back to Japan, but he’s in the kitchen waiting to talk to you and you’re stuck in the living room talking to yourself. Try going into the kitchen.”
I took his advice and was able to move myself spiritually and psychologically from being stuck in the echo chamber of the “living room” and go into the “kitchen” where Our Lord, of course, was waiting for me.
What’s the best advice you ever received?