Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Silent sketches

Drawing a brief breath in the midst of the chaos of this week, I drove up yesterday to see Patient Spiritual Director at the Jesuit retreat house in Wernersville. It was quiet. Quiet enough to hear a squirrel gnawing on a nut from its winter store. Quiet enough to hear the geese call overhead as the Jesuit community gathered in the chapel commended the body of their brother Clarence to God.

God's gentle humor was evident here and there. My confessor, trying to find just the right psalm for a penance. Could we Google it? My attempts to take advantage of an earlier than planned arrival (no traffic!) and take a quick nap were foiled - first by Patient Spiritual Director briskly knocking on the door, hoping to leave a note on the desk before I arrived; then by the housekeeper double-checking that the room was ready. I gave it up as a lost cause, and was so exhausted by back to back spiritual direction and shriving, that I turned in early. And so got nine (!) hours of sleep -- a grace, in retrospect, I so clearly needed.

Threads of poetry seeped into my dreams:
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

--John O'Donohue, For One Who is Exhausted in To Bless the Place Between Us

The calmness has claimed me, and so I can face the gaping maw that is the rest of the week (thanks kb for the image!) with some equanimity, if not complete calm...

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