Hello presence

Hello presence

I’m circling back round again to presence.  Spiralling, my summerhouse friend would call it.  Present to myself in order to be present to God and, out of that, present to others. I’m there because of Monday’s conversation, long and unexpected.  I’m there because of Saturday’s teaching, the topic I myself had chosen.  And, when I … Continue reading

The monster in the corner – or, boundaries part 3

The monster in the corner – or, boundaries part 3

Update me about boundaries, she said.  And my internal monologue wondered stroppily whether I had to. I was bored by boundaries, you see.  Or, perhaps more truthfully, a bit uncomfortable about the ambivalence inherent in my last month of boundary-making and boundary-keeping.  Though we’d spent many minutes talking about them last time, I’d made less … Continue reading

Silenced heart

Silenced heart

Twenty years, give or take, after becoming a Christian, God enrolled me in a school of prayer. And, truth be told, I’m a slow learner. It’s not that I did not pray in those twenty years. It is not that I didn’t adore, confess, thank, and supplicate. I paused, rejoiced, asked, and yielded. In fact, I’ve been round … Continue reading

Beyond boundaries

Beyond boundaries

Something beyond boundaries, she said.  And as she said it, I both knew and didn’t quite know what she meant. I need something beyond boundaries when I am tempted to rescue the person there in front of me.  I need ‘them’ and I need ‘me’. Them and me.  You and I.  With those words, she … Continue reading

Boundary-making, boundary-keeping

Boundary-making, boundary-keeping

Boundary-making is hard work.  Boundary-keeping is even harder. This week, I have spoken with two women in their thirties and I have called them to strengthen their boundaries.  We’ve talked about what they knew the Lord is not asking of them.  And then we talked about why they were doing those things anyway. Boundaries, I … Continue reading

Chasing joy in 2022

Chasing joy in 2022

Can I be honest? I mean, I’m going to be.  I always am here.  Too gut-searingly honest most of the time probably. But somehow this time it feels hard to say the thing out loud, even if it is threaded through so many of my posts already.  Still, here it is… Depression has been far … Continue reading

Arise.  Go.  Dwell.

Arise. Go. Dwell.

Depart.  Turn.  Hide.  That’s what you said in summer 2019.  And it’s what I did. Not expectantly, though.  Not expectantly because you’d said it before.  And I’d done it before.  Early 2015 had taught me the drill. So I departed, turned and hid.  Went to Cherith as 2019 wasted away. And the people wondered. Then, … Continue reading

Speaking out my entire self to you

Speaking out my entire self to you

…do You really listen quite attentively, do You perhaps listen, my whole life long, until I have told You everything, until I have spoken out my entire self to You?  Do You remain so silent precisely because you are waiting until I am really finished, so that You can then speak Your word to me, … Continue reading

This, my Abbey vow

This, my Abbey vow

…when the Lord has been sought in watching and prayers, with strenuous effort, with showers of tears, He will at length present Himself to the soul. Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 32.2, Cantica Canticorum I am here again.  At the Abbey. And there are few tears.  And the effort is more strenuous than once it was, … Continue reading

Smiling as spiritual discipline

Smiling as spiritual discipline

What if a smile could be the expression of our love for God and a means of spiritual growth?  Or, in more prosaic terms, what if spiritual disciplines lists included smiling? It’s an odd idea somehow, isn’t it?  But the nun, Therese of Lisieux, wrote in a poem: ‘For Him I love I wish my … Continue reading