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April 05, 2011


Lovely drawing. I appreciate your ability to share just enough and envy it a bit, too. Sounds like a wonderful retreat. I smiled reading this. Thank you so much for sharing the experience here.

Reading this post, I'm moved to exclaim: "Beth has so many talents!" Lovely pictures, beautiful prose, graceful introspection, contributing to community. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us

Reading this post took me back to a year (2004? 2005?), a high stress year, when everyone was in deep trouble of some kind, a year with lots of Florida hurricane landfalls. I used to run 4-6 miles in the morning and pray for everyone, and some mornings it would take the whole run to get through my mental list of people to pray for. And then one morning, I asked God to help me too, and I immediately started sobbing. It's difficult to sob and run! Luckily, it was before dawn so I could just weep for a bit and pull myself together and nobody saw my tears.

Why can I calmly pray for everyone else, but praying for myself makes me cry? I have yet to answer that. Should I worry that I don't weep for others? Hmm.

Thanks for these reports.

Liked the orchids, the day, the peek inside your head. The line between what can be talked about and what goes beyond what can be talked about (the pearls not to be strewn) I find interesting.

:-) You're way past Screwtape. Don't bother with it if you don't like it. It was a hugely important book to me, and to many people, and it will make you laugh a few times, I hope, but I was a dismissive reductive atheist of a sort I think you never were. That's who Lewis is talking to.

I've learned to be more and more cautious about disrespecting hokie stupid religious rituals. You can do one a hundred times with a bit of a suppressed sigh and a roll of the eyes, and the hundred and first time, suddenly, it hits you on the back of the head with a 2 by 4.

Lovely post. Hawks all over the net this morning :-)

I'm glad that you'd been able to do the retreat. It seems to be a wonderful experience after all.

Thank you, Beth. It's weird reading this. As though I'm reading something in a language I once knew but now only vaguely recollect. I'm not sure I get it. When I started Merton's New Seeds a couple of years ago it felt entirely alien. I put it down and haven't picked it up again. I did appreciate your thoughts about your mom (mine, too, come at unbidden moments), and your questioning the need for the Taize music. What is it about genuine silence that people find so intimidating?

Kim, NT: thank you both. I think "talent" is a strange word. As you both know, talents do us no good unless we use them and improve our "gifts," and there are lots of parables about that! It's a subject I've wrestled with a lot, in a spiritual sense.

Kristin: I really, really appreciate you telling me that story. Thank you. It's so much easier to be strong for others and to ask for the best for them. The words "and for me" were like a needle that went right into my most vulnerable spot - odd, isn't it? And so telling.

Marly, yes. You got it, about those pearls.

MarKo: we missed you. Next time, maybe?

Kurt: it may be that the reason I haven't read Merton for so long is that I don't want to find out that I've moved into a different space. "New Seeds" is one that has some gems in it, but doesn't touch me the way the journals and "The Sign of Jonas" have in the past. I very much appreciate you writing to tell me how this post struck you!

I love the ritual of religion; the mixture you describe of that with the silence and intensity of examining both the inner life, so completely private, and the outer life of the city seen from on high is enticing. But I have problems with the ideas of religion. And problems with C.S. Lewis' writings.

Anne, so do I! One thing I'm trying to do is to tease apart and understand precisely what it is that I don't or can't accept about religion (it tends to be institutional stuff, man-made dogma and hierarchy, much of it centuries old; scriptural literalism; the use of religion to justify violence, oppression, exclusivity) and what draws me (for instance: the intentional spiritual path, mystical experience, music and certain aspects of ritual, and the way growing inwardly helps create greater calmness and greater connection to others and to the world.) I've only read a couple of C.S. Lewis' books and he bugs the hell out of me. I'm glad this one sort of exploded in my hands; that tells me not to read it!

Wow...this sounds like a fascinating experience. I admire your taking part in it...I don't know how well I'd fare extendedly...

Beautiful drawing, as always.

Beautiful post Beth. Thank you so much.

You might be surprised, Hannah. There is a lot of communication going on, it's just not in words (though people do write notes occasionally) and the silence is fertile ground for writing and journaling. For me, it wasn't long enough - a long weekend would be ideal, but a week would begin to wear on me! I've never done a full week of silence. Thanks for the comment - more coming today!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.