Thursday, June 17, 2010

QUIET surprises

Many of us try to interrupt the pattern of our lives during the summer months and create spaces that allow us to reset the way we want the rhythm of our lives to unfold in the days ahead. Some call it vacation. Maybe your “get-away” time includes patches of “alone-times,” times that “take your breath away,” times that just slow down your breathing and get you in touch with what’s happening at the center of your being.

Within the monastery our summer rhythm includes retreat opportunities. Often these focus on Scripture, community living, prayer etc. Retreat /quiet times have a way of letting me sink a bit deeper into what matters. The quiet lets insights bubble up and speak to me from somewhere inside, where they have been incubating. They must have been waiting for my words to recede into silence so they could have a turn to be heard.

I love the image Brother David Steindl-Rast uses to describe retreat/quiet time. He says these days allow our roots to sink deeper into the nurturing soil of God’s presence and hear messages that are unique to our true self at this moment. He suggests that this “going deeper” allows our taproot to be lengthened and strengthened. He goes on to say, it’s a bit like a dandelion with its long taproot. If our taproot is strengthened, when future events come along that figuratively “knock our heads off,” our true root allows us to keep “coming up” and blooming again.

Because I so quickly forget the whispers revealed in silence, I’m packing my journal in my suitcase again this year. Each time I re-read last year's entries, I’m surprised at what I find, and amazed at how gently God nourishes my fragile root. This summer I’m taking along the four reflective questions the Jesuit from India, Anthony deMellow, suggests for journaling: 1) These experiences I have cherished, 2)These beliefs I have outgrown, 3)These sufferings have seasoned me, 4) These persons are enshrined in my heart.

May our roots have ample time to be nurtured during these summer weeks.

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