Home, like the evening

A still summer evening. Effortless air. Light so relaxed it has no need to be lit. The earth quiet and unselfconscious in the pale twilight that lingers around the straight, still pines. The promise of dawn resting beside the hearth of nightfall. Stepping into this evening is like stepping into…

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Tempered glass

Tonight, as I was putting away water glasses after finishing up supper dishes, one glass caught the uneven edge of a serving tray. It took a tumble, but did not break. Had it been one of the glasses we used in the monastery dining room up until a few months…

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The weather in London in a chapel in Cullman

It was time for Vespers, so I turned down the volume on the Retreat Center cell phone and headed upstairs to chapel, holding the phone in my hand. By the time I set the phone down in my choir stall the formerly-blank screen was somehow displaying the weather in London….

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37-fold of a 100-fold

Last evening, I walked through our dishwashing area before supper and saw the strange site of a concrete block on a kitchen cart. Next to the concrete block was something flat and rectangular, covered neatly and precisely with a kitchen towel. My curiosity could not be contained and I lifted…

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As it is in heaven…

As simple and unplanned and unadorned as it was, our quiet ‘liturgy of the hallway’ last night felt, for me at least, about as close as one can get to the idea of our earthly liturgy as a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy. It was about 3:00 am. Already our…

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Hope whisperers

I am afraid of fire. Maybe it goes back to the time when I was five or six and my family and I, along with all our neighbors, were standing outside in our bathrobes in the middle of the night watching a nearby structure burn to the ground. Whatever the…

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Hunger

A hungry person does not inquire as to the recipe of the soup, nor does the thirsty person question the molecular composition of the water that slakes thirst. Rather the hungry know their hunger, the thirsty know their thirst. They gratefully receive what is offered – soup, bread, water, the…

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“Three”: the answer to two age-old questions…

If you were wondering how many monastery employees it takes to change a light bulb, well the answer is three. That is if the light is oh, say, 70 feet in the air and weighs oh, say, 70 pounds, and is oh, say, in need of more than just a…

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Data cable

When I needed a data cable earlier this evening, I knew just where to go – to the shelves next to a shower. Probably in no other setting would this make any kind of sense. But in a monastery the time frame is one of generations, and the use of…

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A loaves and fishes kind of day

For three of us in our monastic community, the Visitation is our Feast Day. You might think that a feast divided by three would diminish the cumulative individual ‘feast-ness’ of the day. But somehow, with three of us, the feast-ness multiplies exponentially such that the festivity quotient is far higher…

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