Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week of Love: Day 1

As I begin this Week of Love, part of a series on the seven holy pauses given to me, I find myself uncertain and a bit anxious. Although I have been looking forward to writing about love, now that the time is here, I don't feel quite up to the task. I find myself still trying to pull out of my most recent migraine which has left my body tired and my mind fuzzy.

But I also realize that I will never be "up to the task" - and I cannot let that stop me. How much love never gets lived because there were too many fears blocking its expression? Much too much, if my life is any indication. I cannot let such fears stop the Love that burns within.

Allow me to share with you an experience I had in this past week. A month or two ago, I had noticed a growing urge inside to set aside some time for God - some real time - something deeper than the routine times of prayer or church attendance. I wanted to be alone with Him, to enter more fully into His love, to allow myself to be transformed by Him. I decided to stay at a hermitage for a couple of days.

I knew going in that there were risks. (There always is with Love.) I knew that I might wake up with such a bad migraine that I wouldn't be able to go. I knew that I might arrive there, only to become anxious and want to leave. I knew that I might seek God but, rather than having a deep experience of His presence, I might find only my own dull and restless heart beating in the silence.

But I decided to go anyway. So, last Saturday, I packed up a few things and drove the 85 miles to a small log cabin that would be my home until Monday afternoon.

It was a lovely little place, far lovelier than I needed. The accommodations were simple but obviously prepared with a thoughtfulness that was touching. The shower offered open bottles of shampoo and liquid soap for those who came unprepared. Towels and linens, worn and plain (but clean and soft), were in place and ready for use. The small living space had a remarkable number of drawers and cupboards, filled with almost anything a person might want - from cooking utensils and olive oil, to scissors and pens. But there was one very special offering that I only discovered a bit later in that first day.

Back in 2007, someone had donated a journal for visitors, inviting those who stayed at the hermitage to share a reflection or prayer with those who would come after them. Such a loving gesture! Men and women, clergy and lay, good penmanship and bad :-), gave witness to the sacredness of this place and the love of God experienced there. And in the stillness, it created a sense of community of "temporary hermits" like myself that offered prayer and support without intruding on the solitude sought there.

Thankfully, the hermitage did not offer me Internet connection (lest I be tempted) but I had made a conscious choice not to leave behind all technology, as appealing as that consideration was on some levels. It had occurred to me that I might receive love-expressions for you from God while I was there. Not knowing in what format they might be given, I wanted to be prepared to accept and hold them for you.

Our God, whose being is Love, indeed had much to share. While some things were privately for me - and not all of them were pretty - one given me to share was an audio reflection on the way of Love. (You may listen by clicking on the play button below. It is very slow and meditative and lasts about 10 minutes. Caution: it may make you sleepy...)

So the Week of Love has begun, with love again triumphing over fear. At least one more time. As I learned in the journal-gift, we must pray for each other as community, even if we never see or meet each other. Only in community will we be able to walk the way of Love... Join me.

(Comments and contributions may be e-mailed to me at Many blessings...)