Sunday, 26 February 2012

‘Nothing in the whole of creation
 so resembles God as silence’.

Today at church on this first Sunday of Lent the sermon was on the suplication and silence of prayer, 
and the words above were used in speaking on
 the "silence" part.

Now I had heard or read
 the words of Meister Eckhart before,
 and sometimes the word "stillness" is used in place of "silence",
but today the words broke over me as an epiphany 
and I saw how amazingly I have been blessed.

Firstly I have been forced to lead a life of much literal stillness.
Often ill as a child, then in my teens
 spending two years in bed, 
mostly lying flat on my back
 with no outside stimulus at all except the radio.
(Those were the good old days of earphones hanging 
on the bed head of each hospital bed, and reading,
 even for a bibliophile like me,
 is hard work when you have to hold the book 
above your head. 
 Your arms soon give out!)

I have long known and appreciated 
those two years as my grounding in silence,
and beginning to recognise and face my own demons,
 but today the knowledge hit me 
like a tidal wave of joy.

How privileged am I not to have faced 
the overwhelming temptation which comes with being
 strong enough to go after 
every ambition I believed myself capable of;
or every distraction that attracted me.

Sure, it was lonely.

As has often been said though
 there is loneliness and there is solitude,
and I guess I was adapted to the solitude despite myself,
and it became a rich, deep, place of second nature. 

When so many of my friends and loved ones
with their over-busy lives
and yet cannot bring themselves 
to let go of anything
in order
 to have a little time to be still
 I ache for them. 

Perhaps the world needs a Lenten period 
of seeking silence
 more than it knows.

Even if it were a non- religious 40 days,
I wonder what it would yield,
that few minutes here or there sinking into silence.

Not easy at first I know,
 still it might well become a habit, and 
then where would we be?

More thoughts on this next time perhaps.

 In the mean time
 if there is something which you can see no sense in,
something hard in your life at present,
I pray that a time might come 
when you will see a harvest of richness and joy from it,
much as I saw anew out of mine today.

Be Blessed

Friday, 24 February 2012

Lenten Joy

It is the custom to empty the church of flowers
 during the period of lent
so as we were leaving after the Ash Wednesday service 
which I commented on in my previous post,
a friend was taking away the beautiful arrangements
 of spring flowers
 which had decorated the church up 'til then.

She generously gave me this earthenware pot of tulips. 

Before going to church I'd said to hubby that
 when we came back I would need 
to buckle down and get some housework done. 

Instead I couldn't wait to grab whatever materials 
I could lay my hands on,
(without actually tidying anything in the studio,)
and escape the chaos and the cold in there
to spend a few happy hours in the dining room.
Just me and the tulips.

This mirrors something of the Lenten season. 
At one and the same moment 
solemn and refective 
as we remember the path to the cross,
whilst threaded through with the
joyous freedom
 of it's outcome.

(I caught up with the housework today!)

Be Blessed

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Today we were at the morning communion for Ash Wednesday,
and as the black cross of ash and oil 
was traced on my forehead
 and the words
 "Remember you are dust and to dust you will return"
were spoken over me
 I remembered the cross on the prairie in Minnesota where I stayed in a hermitage three years ago.

I remembered lying face down before the cross.

The earth was hard and cold,
the grasses winter-seared and harsh;
yet I, who hate the cold,
and love my comfort,
was overwhelmed with the deepest sense of peace.

It felt like the sweetest resting place.
Like coming home.

Be Blessed

Friday, 17 February 2012

Getting Back to "Normal"

 I haven't painted since I was in hospital 6 weeks ago, 
and have barely picked up a pencil either,
 but yesterday my oldest granddaughter came round 
and chose a painting for her flat.

Going into the chaotic studio with Rebecca
 so that she could choose a painting, 
some how stirred up the creative juices so this morning
 found me standing in the cold studio in my dressing gown, 
loosing all track of time 
to start re-working a canvas.

Maybe this weekend
 will find you re-awakening a passion that been lying dormant, 
or even discovering a new one.

Be Blessed

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

On Being a Contemplative

 Proverbs 25:11

"A word at the right time is like apples of gold 
in a network of silver."

Yesterday  I had a breakthrough.
It was one  of those epiphany moments
 when something you have known your whole life,
which others have told you
 so that on one level
 you accept the truth of it,
yet at another,
 push away from yourself 
with a sort of 
"but how can these things be"  feeling;
 (but without the humility).

My then spiritual director's voice 
comes to me from 
 years back as I write.

" I think your problem is 
you have never truly accepted
 you are a contemplative."

Well how right she was.  

More accurately perhaps 
I did not know exactly what 
"being a contemplative"

Then yesterday reading the wonderful
(yes, I'm directing you there again.
"Updating Embracing The Leper" post,
 the part in green writing ),
the penny dropped.
This was my "word at the right time".

I suddenly saw that,
"being a contemplative"
 simply means seeing the Beloved,
(the Absolute,
the Divine,




(which some deep part of me 
has so feared)

If  you could know 
the religious boxes
 I have tried to fit into;
(I who know only too well 
that God is beyond
 any formula),
you would surely know
 what a fool I am;
how incredibly slow to learn;
yet how faithfully,
 yet loosely,
 the Beloved has held me,
and led me.

If none of this makes sense to you,
or seems applicable to you,
at least do take this for yourself.

 Just as faithfully,
as patiently, 
as trusting in the power
 of his/her  own grace,
and of you,
(for that is what
 this loose holding of us means),
is the love that holds you,
now and always.

What a true Valentine!