Over the Easter break I started a podcast called Loved As You Are – An Ignatian Podcast. I’m 6 episodes in, and I’m looking forward to recording guest conversations starting this week.
This weekend I published episode #6 where I talk a little about what I learned about God’s magnanimous love from my hospitalization and eventual diagnosis with Addison’s disease.
It’s also where I say goodbye to a good friend who was someone who planted this idea in me of God loving us as we are through the wisdom of Ignatian Spirituality many years ago. He’s the one when I used to lament over whether or not I knew the “right” way to pray that quashed the idea that there is only one way to communicate with God or for God to communicate back to me – instead he reinforced the idea in me that God speaks to us as God makes us, and God makes us all beautifully and wonderfully unique.
Fr. Wally Sidney, SJ died this past Thursday afternoon. Over the past seven years or so, he became a good friend of mine and one of my biggest cheerleaders. Here’s an excerpt from the podcast:
“I miss my friend and my heart aches not only that I won’t be able to see him again in this life but that he had to suffer at all this past year.
But here’s something that I know because I felt it myself so clearly back in December. He was never alone in that hospital bed. Even at his messiest, most imperfect moments when his body was out of his control… God was right there, hand on his shoulder, loving him exactly as he was.
Wally actually knew that truth long before I did. He’s part of the reason I know that truth myself, and I will never forget all he taught me about Ignatian Spirituality. But I will mostly never forget how he always was my biggest cheerleader reminding me that my voice mattered and that God wanted me to share it.
I have had 51 posts published on IgnatianSpirituality.com and just this week I submitted the first one that Wally had not read first before I turned it in. I often sent him my writings, my presentations, my first drafts of things since I started writing back in 2018. Sometimes he had critiques but most of the time all he had to say was: “This is beautiful, Gretchen. Never stop writing.” His words and his support were always the boost that fortified me to take one more step forward. I wish he could have heard this podcast.”
Fr. Wally, thank you for your life of service to the Jesuits, but most importantly for your friendship.
I really hope there is some fly fishing in heaven.
You will be missed.
I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to him, but I do have more to say about how God loves us in our messiest, most imperfect, most challenging of moments. You can listen to it all on episode six of the Loved As You Are – An Ignatian Podcast entitled “Love Tap – Let Love be Louder” – available wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you what you hear strikes you, be sure to follow the podcast and leave a review so I can continue to tailor the episodes to what would be most effective for you.
For now, I’ll leave you with the words I end every episode with:
“Thank you for joining me today, and until next time remember to be who you are, because that’s exactly who God wants you to be.”
Here’s a photo of Wally being who he was.