Sunday, May 24, 2015

In the Shaking Of Rugs and Washing Of Windows

Sometimes those who are just a few steps outside of our lived reality can out into words what we cannot because we are too close to it.  I recieved the follwing words the other day from a sister I have known for just under a year and yet somehow she captures what my heart feels like at this very moment from 200 miles away.  She writes:
I imagine you are NOT counting the days and yet counting the days in two different ways. I think of all of you often. It is not easy to experience the intensity of grace, personal growth, deep faith sharing, unbridled laughter, spontaneity, companionable silence, and sheer wonderment at it all knowing you each want this life so much, so very much - while still listening carefully for the intersection of your dream and God's - and just say "Goodbye".
No, you will be saying something like, "I am full of deep appreciation for you - for what your/our/my future holds and how it holds us together in this Dominican life. Please God we will continue growing, loving, forgiving, honoring, respecting similarities and making room differences in the compassionate life giving we have done so here." It may not be said in words. It will be said in your glances. In your smiles, in your tears, in the tight anxious silences of "do I go into that or not" moments, in the shaking of rugs and washing of windows.
I've come to wonder if this week of cleaning we are about to begin isn't really about cleaning but rather about encountering God and one another through the most ordinary of household chores.  Whenever I clean out something (car, sock drawer, a cabinet etc) I am almost always surpised by something I find.  May we learn to be surpised not so much by what we find but by who we find.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Summer comes

It is so nice,
When one knows why a person cries.
And then they stop,
Thinking  twice.

It is so nice,
To know that everything will turn out alright.
As a dark sky will fly away by a new sunrise.

It is so nice,
To have someone in your life,
Who makes you smile,
When you are far from miles.

It is so nice,
When You are my light in the dark night,
It is sun shining
In the sky and inside my life.

It is so nice,
To know that Jesus Christ,
The source of life,
For all humankind.

                                                                  Land of Dominic, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

Put Your Whole Self In

At an ICN workshop earlier this year, we were treated to the presence of Sr. Addie Lorraine Walker, SSND, who opened each session with song and dance.  "Put your whole selves in!" she urged us, as she led us through rousing renditions of familiar songs.  She then extended the metaphor of putting our whole selves at the service of God and neighbor through the vow of obedience, the topic she was facilitating that day.

I have had ample opportunity to practice putting my "whole self in" this year.  From a physical standpoint, I have been privy to a more holistic experience of body prayer each Sunday as I sing and sway with the Gospel Choir at St. Alphonsus, "The Rock," the Catholic church I've been attending where we practice Afro-centric worship with a sort of Southern Baptist feel.  We've practiced body prayer in our ICN sessions and focused on our different energy centers during a day of reflection.  

Perhaps during this contemplative year more than ever, I have learned that physicality is an important part of my spirituality.  My need for both exercise and stillness in a purely physical sense mirrors the need for an action-contemplation balance in all other areas of my life.  I'm still learning this one, and sometimes it still seems easier to run a half marathon than to stay focused during contemplation… but I've come to value the holy tension in it all.

Beyond the physical, however, we have had plenty of other opportunities to practice putting our whole selves in.  Whether it's in conversation with a spiritual director or in a house meeting with community, we have been invited again and again to that "exquisite vulnerability" that true discernment necessitates.  It doesn't mean sharing everything all the time, but it does mean taking the risk to trust at the appropriate times.  It's a decision I must re-make each day, sometimes multiple times a day.

Ultimately, we are all called to put our whole selves in to whatever particular path God has called us.  All of the opportunities I've had this year to practice this have been preparation for the possible discernment of vowed life as a consecrated person; putting my whole self in to love of God and neighbor through vowing obedience, chastity, and poverty.

I think it's safe to say I'll never view the hokey pokey in quite the same way again.