“The fulness of joy is to behold God in everything.” –Julian of Norwich
I am home from my time of solitude at the Jesuit Center. How shall I carry the monastery within me as I integrate my experiences into my daily round? Of what profit is contemplative work if it cannot be integrated into the quotidian and the mundane? This will be my focus for the next few days.
* How does my time of silence inform my interactions with an angry child?
* How is inner order affected by the unavoidable outer disorder of a busy house and farm?
I will find more questions in the coming days, I am certain.
Some of the words that I have been holding in my heartbowl this week:
1. Chance Encounter #1: Just as I was walking into the center on Monday, I crossed paths with an old friend who just happened to be on solitary silent retreat at the Center for the exact same days that I was. We greeted each other, entered silence, passed each other throughout the days there, and held a short written conversation with a plan to meet and converse about our retreat experiences on Wednesday morning. What a gift! What a holy coincidence. (Some people say there are no coincidences. I think there are holy coincidences–chance experiences that we mold and turn into holy or sacred moments.)
2. Chance Encounter #2: In the evening of my second day, as I was deeply into a collage meditation in the Ignatian Room in the basement, a pair of women caught my attention to ask how to register. Bonnie had gone home for the day, and these women were new and didn’t know what to do. I helped them find their registration sheets, find their way to their room, and figure out when dinner was. They were sweetly grateful. I found them again yesterday morning, and broke my silence to talk with them. They are Sisters of Mercy, both of them former teachers, still educators. They were delighted to talk together about the vocation of education, and they told me that they will add me and my students to their centering prayer times in the evenings. Another supremely holy moment, a brilliant moment. They embraced me and kissed me and blessed me, and I will carry my encounter with Sister Mary Clare and Sister Bridget into my summer and into my teaching.
3. Vanilla ice cream and berries–strawberries and freshly-picked black raspberries.
4. Settling into home with my guys. Re-integration is a noisy and sometimes conflicted affair, but pleasant and delightful nonetheless.
5. The new project is born. This seed has been a long time germinating, but during retreat it sprang up fiercely and vividly. It will take a lot of nurture to see it to completion, but I feel prepared for the task.
In Beauty may we walk!