Ever more, I see that my desire for silence and solitude is a gift, perhaps the deepest gift I’ve been given. In silence, I see that no-one’s going to rescue me. No-one’s going to anaesthetize me. I don’t possess God. God possesses me.
In silence and solitude, I see that my life on earth is “a bad night spent at an uncomfortable inn,” as Teresa of Avila put it.
It’s an uncomfortable inn where I never feel truly at home, and at the same time, “Lord I have loved the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth” [Ps. 26]. It’s a night at an uncomfortable inn where we prepare for eternity, where everything registers, where every day, every minute, matters. And where we are broken open, over and over again, by beauty, by love, by truth.
As Evelyn Underhill said, “It seems so much easier in these days to live morally than to live beautifully. Lots of us manage to exist for years without ever sinning against society, but we sin against loveliness every hour of the day.”
8 Replies to “LIVING BEAUTIFULLY”
LOVE this Heather. I have about concluded that ours is an age of the Pharisee. Perhaps all ages are to some extent, but in ours right now, Pharisees dominate. We are in an awful rush to evict the tax collector from our inner temple. Looking good, having “self-esteem,” achieving success, and therefore feeling cocky and confident in oneself……well, that’s the dominant way TO BE right now. Is that not what “morality” in this current age IS? And while I’m at it, I might as well offer thanks to God that I’m not like all the other schmucks who are not as self-evolved, fit, successful, and aware as I am! To live in a permanent state of being “broken open, over and over again, by beauty, by truth, by love” is way too painful for most of us.
Betsy – Montana
Hey Betsy, yes, we are in some kind of weird prosperity Gospel stage where spiritual excellence consists in being fit, having a prestigious, high-paying job (preferably in Catholic "media"), several perfect children, a global profile, 20,000 Twitter followers, and really good teeth. I'm kind of like Hey I'm fully dressed and sitting up straight, there HAS to be a God!
We can only hope the whole false, shallow, boring, thing, i.e. the prosperity Gospel, will blow over and we can get back to getting real, breaking bread, and actually getting a kick out of each other.
HI There, Heather! I "happened" upon your blog wheen I googled "Jacqueline de Decker and a post you wrote from back in 2012 popped up! I love that story of the partnership of JdeD with Mother Teresa…
So I wanted to share with you that I am leading a 24 hour spiritual Retreat with an emphasis on Silence and Solitude and I'm sure you'll agree that it is no coincidence that this is your topic of today. Thanks for the challenge to live out our days broken open. It is only through our own personal brokenness that we will grow. I look forward to following your journey. Joan in Georgia http://www.50somethingwoman.blogspot.com
Joan, I was thrilled to happen upon Jacqueline de Decker and keep pitching her for one of my Credible Witness essays in Magnificat. That's not a whole lot about her, that I could find anyway. I'm all for any way of being of service that incorporates or better is actually based upon our weaknesses and wounds…Hope your Georgia retreat goes beautifully…Thank you.
I'm kind of like Hey I'm fully dressed and sitting up straight, there HAS to be a God!
Now THAT makes my day ;).
Love all your posts. This gift, a call to silence and solitude has enveloped me. It was always there I am beginning to recognize. "Life" pushed it aside. My whole life, "Be still and know I AM God"…has rolled around in my head, my heart, my thoughts. I heard it nearly everyday. Now at 52, 3 kids grown; graciously the Lord is clearing my days and path to be still. It is profound. Pure time with God. Sometimes I read the saints, sometimes I am just in a chair with Jesus…He makes HIs presence known, when I am still. Praise God.
"my desire for silence and solitude is a gift, perhaps the deepest gift I’ve been given."
That is such a fine concept. I never appreciated this desire as a gift – how neglectful I have been. It seems with the passing of time, (i.e. getting older), this gift just gets stronger, deeper and more sacred. I also love the Teresa of Avila quote…and your balance of it with your perspective on appreciating the beauty and love and truth that surrounds us as well. Beautiful post!
Consciously making time for silence and solitude is a, perhaps THE, true act of resistance in this culture. It often requires dying a very painful death to our identity as "helpers" and "nice people" who are willing to go anywhere and do anything for the other even when we long ago ran out of gas….