From the moment my feet touched the floor around five o’clock this morning, it has felt like a museum kind of day, the kind of day where everything seems awash in the sort of beauty that makes one want to stop and take note. To pause, linger, appreciate. To attend to the unique character of the passing people, moments and events of the day.
When I awakened, exterior lights were still casting their glow through the muslin curtains of my windows. Soon enough, I was pouring water for the first pot of Retreat Center coffee. The aroma of bacon soon followed, keeping pace with the quietly emerging daylight.
From the hallway junction between Sisters’ and Retreat Center dining areas, I had a good view of the morning: Sister Mary Grace arriving first in the monastery dining room, soon followed by other Sisters. Meanwhile, three early-rising young men gathered in the Retreat Center Rafter Room, chatting quietly over cups of coffee.
After breakfast, Lauds, with open chapel windows and a subtle breeze, and then Mass, with the sprinkling of water, the Word of God proclaimed, the precious weight of the chalice in my careful hands…
Sisters, guests, retreatants adorned the day. Sister Kathleen strolled through during breakfast service, warmly greeting a ladies group that she has led in the past. Sister Magdalena stopped by and asked me to accompany on flute during Mass. Sister Emilie and I consulted together on a sacristy question. Sister Dominica greeted a former student, now here with a weekend group.
A busy morning and early afternoon gave way to a quiet late afternoon. Our two retreat groups departed. An unexpected guest arrived. Daylight streamed. Kitty B roamed. Clouds whispered secrets in the sky. I took a stroll with the camera.
Then Second Vespers of Sunday, followed by an informal supper of crackers, peanut butter, and conversation shared around a kitchen table. And finally, a ‘tear-jerker’ movie with my Joseph Hall living group.
And now, exterior lights again illuminate the pale muslin that spreads across the windows of my room. The words of a Psalm we chanted at Lauds still linger – “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.”
The passing moments, events and people of this day have each been a gift, awash in the sort of beauty that makes one want to stop and take note. We don’t need to visit a museum to encounter that which is exquisite, unique, beautiful. We just need to open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us and the unique gift of each person and moment. Today, despite the busy-ness of my retreat ministry, I have paused and lingered, appreciating the gift of the day and all that is within it. I am glad, indeed.