stitching in the quietude
before this day ends, i will be tucked in a sleeping chamber in an old and timeless seminary. it will be an unadorned cell — a bed, a wood-slabbed floor, maybe a window.
i am driving to the woods — and the great stone seminary, nestled along a lake — to give my soul the air time it so deeply needs. it’s been too long. decades and decades since i slid into a many-chambered monastic place, and stayed the night. since i fell asleep under rough-hewn sheets, listened to the silence all around, heard the whispers of my deepest soul cry out.
i’m long overdue. of that, i’m certain. monasteries and abbeys have been calling out to me for years. please come, they beckon. please rest your weary soul. yet i’ve not obliged. not wholly, anyway.
oh, i’ve popped in from time to time, knelt down, kindled wicks in rows of vigil lights. but not surrendered into the seamless timelessness of true retreat, the respite from everyday cacophony.
when we lived for a year in cambridge, mass., there was a great grey stone monastery, tucked along a bend in the charles river, shadowed behind a stand of sycamores, and i wove it often into my daily meanderings. my hours there were holy. were hushed. the alchemy of candle smoke, infused with incense, infused with long-robed monks chanting morning prayer, it catapulted me toward that place where prayers stir deep and deeper.
and now it’s time for immersion into silence.
that this quiet interlude, one i invited in months ago, is coming now, amid a week of hallelujah mixed with jitters, it’s blessed timing. from sundown to sundown i’ll be washed in quiet. in listening to the prayerful wisdoms of the fine soul who’s convened the gathering, whose lifework is inviting in quietude. reminding us — all of us — that we need equal measures noise and silence. that our hectic lives beg for the punctuated pause. that we etch in time for absorbing, for soaking in the holiness that’s always all around.
it comes just before that swirl of passover and holy week, an intermingling in this house that has us marking ancient story and eternal truth. it comes amid a springtime that’s unfurling abundantly, with blessings all around.
it comes just hours from now.
and i am quieting already…
may you all find at least a spot of quietude this day, this close of another week.
how do you respond when you’re called into the deep that comes with no noise?
and a magnificent thank you to every blessed chair sister and blessed friend who scaffolded my heart, kept my knees from buckling last night, at the “birthing” of Motherprayer. whether you were there, in the charmed and quirky bookstore, or sending whispers from afar, you somehow propelled me through. it all always begins here, where roots grow deeper by the day. xoxo
may the stillness slow the time, surround and support, cleanse and lift you.
your reading and musing last evening was a breath of quietude for me and i am grateful.
may we all find a moment or help create one for another, this and every day.
oh my beautiful heart-friend…..thank you for being right by my side, just over my shoulder, literally with your hand at the small of my back……xoxox
Go in peace, sister. Remember a hat to protect your delicate Irish skin; it looks like you’ll have beautiful, sunny weather. Deep breath. Let your soul breathe. All kinds of love goes with you. xoxoxoxoxo
thanks, sweet heart, and thank you for reminding me about a sun bonnet. i’m going to have to learn to heed to my irish fair skin. i never would have thought of it. and walking through springtime woods means there’s not much shade coming from the arbor above….
you know i am carrying you with me….
bam, first, heartfelt congratulations on the second addition to your “second family.” I hope another chance arises to see and hear you. And by chance, or not, you chose a weekend when local nature is in straight-ahead, no-turning-back rebirth and renewal. Enjoy your own amid the ancient stones and dewy new woodland sprouts. Love.
bless you my beautiful friend. believe me, my eyes will be peeled as i poke through the woods (sticking only to the well-trod paths of course). maybe i should slip a magnifying lens into my satchel, so i can take very close look……