I’ve been thinking a lot lately, going over old photographs and reading articles. It’s been introspective. At such times, I always recall an image a friar once used to describe spiritual growth: Augustine’s wineskins.
Augustine noted that a fresh wineskin is too tight to hold much wine. Someone fills it, and it strains, bulging and stretching, ready to burst. Gradually, it stretches enough to hold more, so we pour more in, but again, it fills quickly. Still, it stretches, and as we repeat the process, it can suddenly hold gallons.
Likewise, life stretches us through challenge, reflection, and experience. The same events that hurt us or stretch us as we grow, let us hold more. As another friar told me, “The older I get the more grief I can hold.”