Tuesday, October 16, 2007


My mind gets all gravelly when I'm on retreat. There are lots of concrete bits that stir around, but they're surrounded by a blur of ripples. More on that below.

There are two retreatants here at Mercy Center (in a building that can hold 250 easily for conferences and has 90 bedrooms). Or at least there were: the other one's room looked pretty cleaned up this morning. Which means that, aside from staff and the Sisters of Mercy (not the band. ripple.) it's me, pretty much. So at breakfast this morning, the cook had made 4 small omelets and laid them out, along with maybe 4 cups of oatmeal, 4 yogurts, etc. You get the picture. I had one omelet and a piece of toast with peanut butter, in a room with umpteen 6-to-8 person tables, and a lot of icons on one wall (which I enjoy very much). So external silence is easy this time. Internal silence, less so. (ripple.)

For this morning's meditation I went to the chapel, where others from the communities inside and out were already meditating. I've been alone in the meditation room (which has meant I could do sun salutations between sessions), so it was pleasant to be in a room with others, sitting in the presence of the Lord.

I've been keeping the hours, too, which is a heck of a lot easier here than at home.

The other thing I've been doing is reading: my usual devotional (My Utmost for His Highest), and Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution. I'm on a headlong search for a December book for my Christian Spirituality book group, and my focus is on returning Christ to Christmas by thinking Simple. (We're doing Advent Conspiracy in our church. (gravel)) So many people are torn by Christmas: sad or exhausted or lovingthetraditionsbutoverwhelmed or having to rev up to consider the nativity on 24 December. The commercialism is really getting to me, both because of the increasing gap between the rich (including me) and the poor (including most of the world, and a lot of our country); and because it's so hard for folks to even see Christ through the tinsel and batteries. Even Christian bookstores and websites are all over selling. Which shouldn't surprise me but does. (gravel, gravel).

If you have a book idea, post it in comments, okay?

So here's more gravel, in no order:
1) There is simply no reason that one (okay, I) cannot live with this sensibility in the "real" world.
2) I need a timer for the hours and the discipline to obey it.
3) I'd really love to have early morning meditation and communion with others. ("Contemplation and Communion") Maybe offer it on campus? 1-2x/week?
4) 1st and 3rd Wed. evenings?
5) We (okay, I) can't keep living with all the waste and excess. (Poor wonderful husband.)(Wait, that may be a ripple.)
6) Contemplation has to become community action. And vice versa.

And rippling: why do I immediately move away from Jesus into "the next thing"?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You need Shadow, who is currently attempting to demonstrate the relative importance of cat and keyboard by curling up on warm notebook and presenting catbutt for petting, as an intervening layer between hand and keys. His comment, while silent, is pertinent.