Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Small Quiet Room

I have always felt a special attraction to small quiet simple rooms. They always seem to contain in a very special way. I remember many small rooms that seemed to have special grace.

One of those was a very small room, I think it was actually a container that had been given wooden walls inside. There was nothing in it but chairs around a table. The feeling that lay under the "furnishings" was quite profound. It was in a Orthodox women's monastery, clearly that room had been used to pray in and to be focused on the One Thing Needful. That unseen but felt silence, filled the space in a way that nothing else could.

Another room that has been a special place, is an outdoor room. We seem, as we have lived in our home over the years, to have divided up the space into small intimate spaces. Not intentionally, but it was a home built in the 70's, and I guess for that reason the home itself has lots of small rooms. We had a lot of space around us and realized as we went along that somehow we needed the boundary that a fence offered in our back yard. It marked the area that we needed to care for, as well as giving a sense of order. As we got just a bit older, we decided that we didn't really want so much to care for and so closed off a small part of that yard and created a very small yard that has wild grass and things that need almost no maintenance.

My husband's study looks out on this little intimate yard. It has been the home of a little cottontail for about 5 years. My husband became very friendly with this rabbit and the rabbit grew used to my husband's voice and didn't feel like she needed to hide when he was close. She sensed my husband's regard for her I think. Sadly she died the other day, not the victim of one of the kiyi-ing coyotes, but seemingly of old age. He found her in the driveway with no apparent injury. He was very sad, not surprisingly. They saw each other all summer long for those years, enclosed in that small fenced yard that opened into the bigger view of the hill beyond and the mountain. The yard offered her protection and a small tree to sit under, with a hole between the aspen log fence into the car port, giving her a quick out, if the red tail hawk was cruising. That yard was the stage for that relationship, which is especially dear to my husband.

I have been pondering a small intimate room, a place free of things...a place to be still.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thought For The Day

As I have said before, I am highly interested in Pilgrimage. I would love to wander the world in search of Holy Sites.

My legs have been bothering me so much. I have been on a plan of doing errands, gardening etc. in the morning and keeping my legs up in the afternoon with leg rests also in the morning. I am going to call the knee doctor on Monday. I think I am going to have to have knee replacements.

At any rate I took an interesting journey the other morning. Checking into Google Earth I took a great trip and wandered around the island of Patmos. On Google Earth people have uploaded their photos which is helpful in getting a picture of what the island looks like and then I did a bit more research on the Cave of St. John.

Certainly not a perfect journey, missing are the larger stirrings of the heart, the smells and sounds...But none the less it was a pretty nice journey with an Akathist planned this evening to St. John the Theologian.

"Enlightening thy soul with an understanding of the true knowledge of God, thou didst follow thy good and gracious Master, learning the wisdom that flowed from His lips. On account of thy perfect innocence and virginal chastity, thou was beloved of Christ thy Lord. So hearken to us who cry to thee...." From the Akathist of St. John the Theologian

The true pilgrimage which is of the heart, is in prayer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Of The Secular and The Spiritual

I am reading a very interesting and thought provoking book. A book by Charles Taylor, it is called A Secular Age. It is a real brick of a book, that is going to take me many, many evenings to read, the kind of book that is so rich in thought that I can't read very far without wanting to stop and mull over what he has said for maybe 4 or 5 days. I guess I am looking at about a year for this one.

A look at the secular age is shocking. It is a sly thing that has crept upon us over time. I am brought to the thought that the thinking of past generations are very different worlds. The thinking of the present age is colored extensively by it.

I read the first few pages and thought, I don't know if I want to read this. (?)
After mulling it over and even dreaming about it, I see that it has great power to show me ways that are adverse to Christ's thinking and I will add, good to be aware of.

By encapsulating and simplifying Charles Taylor's point, the book classifies people's approach to life, the secular, being a living for what the mind can create and generate, as opposed to the spiritual life, in which there is something or someone greater than ourselves, or perhaps a third option of a mixture of both.

His book called me to think about my own thought process and the path that I live by...I have to say thinking out things is fun, but I certainly do not, or could not live only on the surface. There is too much that I see and feel as an under-current in life. Emotion and motion are very alive in my life. I had a dream in which this motion was the subject. I would have to say that my life is about pilgrimage. (That is, an awareness and discovery of what is under the surface.)

In my former life, before I became an Orthodox Christian, I was aware of lots of different spiritual motion that seemed to be popping up in many different areas. It was chaotic and alive in many different directions. I certainly could see how a variety of people believed different things about different spiritual paths.

In a dream that I had after reading the first few pages of The Secular Age, I was on a spiritual pilgrimage. Towards the end of it I was passing over a beautiful forest. It was a breathtaking view, with rolling green meadows, high lakes and deep cloud shadows in patches over the landscape. At the summit of the hills was a beautiful forest with tall stately trees that edged the rolling hills. The trees were amazingly tall and beautifully barked with almost a smooth skin and at the fullness of the growing leafy crown they burst into the most beautiful green leaves that were full of life and motion. I asked the person next to me..."What is that forest? It almost looks like Lórien." The Brit said, "Yes, Lothlórien." (The forest from Tolkien's, Lord of the Rings.)
I was astonished.
(The above image of the aspen forest is a poor representation of the lush forest mentioned, but perhaps you will get the drift.)

The next morning in my reading of the psalms I came across this from Psalm 95.

12 The fields and all things that are in them shall be joyful. Then shall all the trees of the woods rejoice 13 Before the face of the Lord, because he cometh: because he cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with justice, and the people with his truth.
All of the sudden there was a realized structure and beauty to the Christian Orthodox path, a Profound Loving, Beautiful and Solid Reality that was deeper than the ocean and the night sky, and huge and beyond description. There was no question in my mind as to the Path.

How lovely the words of Charles Taylor were for they helped me see the reality that I walk in as well as the realities that I have walked in.

What a great blessing...on with the exploration of his words.