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Each morning my day begins with a rich cup of coffee sitting by a window, placing my day before God. I watch intently as the darkness slowly yields to the light and I am never disappointed. Some days the sight is magnificent with brilliant reds, blues and purples. Other days it is more subdued. And still at other times (like today) the change is so subtle I hardly notice that the day is here. However it happens, the light always emerges…showing me a dusty room or a dirty window or worse! Without the light I hardly notice that housecleaning is needed.
Respect for ourselves and for the one we care for is a central attitude to live and to be lived by. We simply do not and will not know the truth and fullness of anyone’s personal life for it is hidden even as we live it. Who are we? Who is the one we care for? Who someone was at the vibrant age of twenty or later at the tottering age of eighty is still the same soul – a soul that has lived and learned, has suffered, made mistakes and has loved and been loved.
Mercy by the Sea recently completed its first Sabbath by the Sea: Exploring a New Way of Being in the Second Half of Life. It was a sacred two weeks with extraordinary participants who were willing to walk deeply into their interior landscapes and to look lovingly on our broken world. Participants came from California, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Of the many rich and fruitful paths available as part of the Christian tradition, the monastic way calls to me the strongest. The invitation to live life with more slowness, simplicity, and attentiveness are rich gifts in a world driven by speed, consumerism, and distraction. Contemplative practices help to offer an antidote to ways of living that have contributed to the destruction of the earth.