Monday, November 13, 2006

lack and/or abundance

these last few weeks i've been savoring a book called the cloister walk by kathleen norris. a book i've read before, but is well worth a second reading. (and many more, i suspect.) it includes many thoughts on monastic living and the challenges and blessings that come with it -- from the perspective from someone who is outside but included in some ways. here are two quotes (and ideas) that are still echoing around in my soul.

"if scarcity makes things more precious, what does it mean to choose the spare world over one in which we are sated with abundance? ... who will i be, when loss or crisis or the depredations of time take away the trappings of success, of self-importance, even personality itself?" (p294 & 295)

"it is the aim of contemplative living, at least in the Christian mode, that you learn to recognize a blessing when you see one, and are able to respond to it with words that God has given you." (p 352)

in a conversation with a friend who is also a missionary, i was told that perhaps in the lack of what seems 'necessary' we find something else in abundance. before that conversation i was starting to notice something but couldn't put words to it. this friend did so (as she often does..). when i don't have many deep conversations for days, when i finally get to have one i savor it so much more. when i don't eat all that well for a few days, and then have a real meal with a friend, how wonderful it tastes! and spiritually, i'm lacking a lot things i've had accessible for most of my life. but God is not lacking.

this is becoming a time to work on my listening, in all sorts of ways. lots of listening to language. listening to (and watching) how people interact. listening for God to speak. and since i don't have others speaking truth into my life as often as 'usual', i am listening more carefully for God. enjoying knowing He's with me. enjoying with Him the beautiful sunset He made, praying for the beggars i pass on the streets and knowing He loves them intimately. in the lack of human friendships, i get to know God as Friend more deeply. which is pretty amazing.

and that question kathleen norris asks about 'who will i be when .. ?'
i'm beginning to find out.
ask me in a couple years.

who will you be when .. ?
who are you when .. ?


kleigh said...

thank you for sharing. yes, life is rich when we have little. it is tiring, but at the same time its like an explosion of flavor when we are blessed by little things. i pray that God may renew your spirit in the valley so when a flood comes you will be firm in your identity as His beautiful daughter. You are being held.

John said...

Thanks for these quotes... you might even consider writing a book review for the InnerVoice... =; )