Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Digging and Dumping: A spirituality of place

If you’ve been to St. Benedict’s Monastery lately, you see a huge construction job going on in front of the entrance to the Gathering Place. One definition of construction is “something fashioned or devised systematically”. Actually, right now it is more of a process of systematically destroying something.

As I watch, the workmen continue to dig and dump, dig and dump. Today a large tree had to be lifted up and away by the roots. But over time, a few skeletal structures are emerging. Something is being constructed on top of the destruction.

I’ve been reflecting on how this is a metaphor for the human and spiritual life. Dig deeper, dump some “stuff”; dig a little more and let go of a little more. Bit-by- bit and very slowly, something new begins to emerge! Something new and beautiful will rise up out of the mess!

The process of digging and dumping can be painful in our lives. We can become aware of things we’ve been hanging onto for too long. An old hurt and grudge that we should have dumped years ago still poisons our heart; a grief that we refuse to acknowledge haunts us ; the fear of the unknown keeps us hanging instead of risking something new and satisfying.

Letting go and moving on. Sometime it happens in a small decision we make. Other times there is some major milestone that calls us to “deconstruct” some part of our life in order to gain deeper inner freedom and peace. We experience a shift taking place within us. Something new is trying to find a place and space as a new entrance in our lives. We can only hope it is a strong foundation for a sacred space in the Gathering Place of our hearts!

Kathryn Casper, OSB

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