Deepening Our Inner Silence Leads to Surfacing of Wounds We've Kept Hidden

The photo above is the latest of Gaynell's creations for our "altar" table. Each time we meet, Gaynell (one of the facilitators) creates a unique design to mark the season or the topic of discussion. We recently had a small group meeting around this table, and I found myself staring at this particular arrangement of wood and stone. I was drawn to the harshness and different angles; it felt particularly "Lenten" to me.

I have always been drawn to what I might call the "stark" beauty of particular places we have visited over the years, such as in Newfoundland, Iceland, and northern Scotland. These places are the most awe-inspiring to me. So I see beauty in this table design.

This past month has been marked by slow growth in my contemplative spirit. What I have been most conscious of is a growing appreciation of the people around me. Taking public transportation, I spend a lot of time among "strangers." I am striving to spend time each bus, subway, and commuter train ride to pay attention to my fellow travelers. Too often I think of other people during my commute as annoyances: talking too loudly, crowding me, blocking the doors ... I struggle to look at each person now and say a silent prayer for them to be blessed and to have a good day.

I'm not saying I don't still get frustrated or angry, but now I usually catch myself and remember that they have lives as full as mine, with desires, loves, tragedies, hopes and fears. I try not to be too quick to judge others or to take umbrage at what they do. So if you think about it, say a prayer for me to be patient and loving.

I was also reminded at the last meeting that while there are three more weekend retreats (one next week, the first since November, I can hardly wait), there is only one more small group meeting left, and my fellow pilgrims are hoping for a pie. I think I can manage that.

I'll be through with the program in June, which is a little frightening: Will I be able to continue my work?  But I think I will. The rewards have been such, I can't imagine myself just dropping the practices. I'm always trying to find more time to do the various practices I have begun and those I wish to try. I didn't know what I was going into, but I believe that God called me to this, and She will remind me if I get lazy.

Be well!  God bless you! Happy Lent!


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