Saturday, June 28, 2008
The morning sun catching the mist in this scene reminds me that I am walking into full summer. Green everywhere. All the waiting of winter and all the promise of springtime fulfilled.
I finished my retreat with eight others on Friday. It was based on the writings of St. Paul, a favorite saint all my life. And this weekend turns out to be the feast of SS. Peter and Paul.
In 1974 I began keeping a book of quotes that meant a lot to me. On page two are these quotes from St. Paul:
"I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)
"By the grace of God I am what I am, and God's grace in me has not been in vain." (First Corinthians 15:10)
More than anyone else Paul has made me aware that Jesus is living in me now and always. The presence of Jesus is me is not something I have earned. It is by the grace of God, God's unearned love, that Jesus lives in me and makes me aware of his presence and enables me to live my life in love of him and others.
Monday, June 23, 2008
John Ruskin said, "Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty."
I began last night a week's retreat with eight others. The beauty that surrounds us here by the lake creates an atmosphere that reminds us of God with us.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
More of yesterday morning's constant butterfly. All week long I have been reflecting on Jesus' words,"Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." God takes care of everything in nature, even the most common. So God certainly will take care of us human beings.
Three times in that Gospel passage Jesus says, "Do not be afraid." Three times he calls God "Father." God is a perfect father, loving us no matter what, protecting us no matter what. With a Father who is all loving and all powerful what is there for us to be afraid of?
Friday, June 20, 2008
I was eating breakfast on the side deck this morning when this butterfly fluttered into these flowers. At first it almost buried itself in them, like it was rolling around in sweetness. I was tempted to jump and get my camera, but I decided to surrender to the beauty rather than try to capture it. That is always an argument that I have with myself: surrender or capture? The butterfly would stay on the flowers for a few minutes. Then it would fly away, but within just a few seconds it would return. It kept doing this, as if were trying to tear itself away but couldn't. Addicted. I remembered trying to tear myself away from the Grand Canyon and yet stopping at every overlook to let the grandeur possess me.
I stopped eating and just watched the butterfly. It was so persistent I began to think maybe it was an omen. Someone had died and was letting me know they were caught up in Beauty. That's too Irish! Then I was satisfied that Beauty simply had chosen that way to reveal Itself to me. I got up to get some tea and when I came back the butterfly was still coming and going. Maybe it wants its picture taken. So I went and got my camera and have some wonder-full shots.
Surrender or capture? There is no word, no concept that can adequately capture God, but sometimes we keep trying to get It all in. The best we can do is surrender to the Mystery.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The following passage from page 5 of Per Petterson's fine novel, "Out Stealing Horses" expresses a lot of how I feel about the two years that I have been in retirement here:
"All my life I have longed to be alone in a place like this. Even when everything was going well, as it often did. I can say that much. That it often did. I have been lucky. But even then, for instance in the middle of an embrace and someone whispering words in my ear I wanted to hear, I could suddenly get a longing to be in a place where there was only silence. Years might go by and I did not think about it, but that does not mean that I did not long to be there. And now I am here, and it is almost exactly as I had imagined it."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The deed for our cabin here on the lake is dated June 11, 1968. I spent most of today reflecting on the forty years that we have been here. This place has been a great blessing for me, as well as for many other people. It has always been a place of peaceful refuge for me. Today has been bliss.
I remember how cold it was that week in mid-June when I moved in to clean the place and make it ours. It snowed over on a nearby mountain.
For many years it was a kids' place. I brought them by the carload from a nearby high school. Then my nephews and nieces became teens and brought their friends. I was still emotionally a teenager myself. An old priest from Ireland sat on the porch one day and mumbled, "Tir Na Noge." I asked what it meant. "Land of the Young."
Then as I finally began to grow up in my late thirties, I invited adult friends and their families. We had small retreats here. My mother and sister and her family came more often. In recent years Saturdays and Sundays in the summer are often full of family and their friends. Hospitality. Everyone is welcome.
The cabin was originally a two bedroom bungalow. Much later we closed in the carport and the front porch and built front and side decks. Later still we built an upstairs whose front room has a spectacular view of the lake.
The view is one of the best in the entire county. This picture I took from the side deck this morning while I was eating breakfast. The little blur below the fuschia is a humming bird, one of several who frequent the feeders.
Peace, contentment, hospitality, refuge, stillness, reflection, prayer, contemplation, beauty, bliss, ananda (that joy in existence without which the universe would fall apart.)
Thursday, June 5, 2008
After a cold May and so much rain today was a gift of God. Hot and sunny. It is very suddenly like full summer.
I spent a lot of time outside today. My first day in the Lake. Not bad. Afterward as I lay near the water I felt a strong sense of well being, sensing God's presence in the rays of the sun and in the sound of the Lake on the shore and in the very graciousness of the day.
It was topped off by a lovely sunset and a gorgeous afterglow.
Irises bloomed the the back yard this week. Poor man's orchids.