Do you remember this pathway? Do you remember when you first led me up this grassy trail to the Abbey Church? It looked a bit different then because the leaves were changing, falling from the trees even. But don't you remember when we silently strode up this incline to sit with the monks for terse, vespers and compline? As I walked this path this past week without you, I could feel your presence there- yours and the Holy Spirit's. Your kind and encouraging words rang in my ears, "You are never alone. God is always with you. Nothing can harm you, do not be afraid." I know you were praying for me this week, I could feel it. . . I managed to "just be" which is what I said I wanted to do this summer the last time I spoke to you. Do you remember that conversation? It's kind of a new thing for me. . . to just be. I cannot say it is any easy endeavor for one such as me who has to be occupied all the time, who fights the inner voices that say that if I am not busy then I must be lazy, worthless, uninteresting. I am learning to not listen to those voices. . . and to be intentional about my time fully immersed in the presence of God no matter if I am away or at home.
I do remember!
I have always been grateful for its meandering welcome. I have walked it at various tempos, but my favorite is the lingering tempo when I can pause as the Spirit invites. Sometimes it is a sight. Sometimes a subtle movement of a warbler--or it could be the leap of a deer. Sometimes it is a sound. The bell from the Abbey or the song of a meadowlark. Still other times there is a fragrance -- the sweetness of honeysuckle, the spice of hay, or the heavy breath of the bread floating from the monastery bakery.
The walk is significant. Step by step toward the heart. Settle the mind. Turn away from the voices of others. Allow your pulse to calm until it is moving in sync with the pulse of God's love extended to you in Christ.
It seems significant that this time you journeyed to the Abbey without me. It seems that is a powerful integration that the desire to "be with God" has taken root in the life of Amy. Oh, of course you will continue to face the temptation to be occupied with matters of busy-ness or worry. You may even fool yourself for a time, thinking that your day will matter more if you can "do" something that this or that person will deem important.
The critical thing though, is that you have discovered the path to the One who knows you better than you know yourself. You have walked the twists and turns. You have settled on the benches of contemplation. You have come home.