Living in relative silence and solitude is interesting.

I see that a lot of the “noise” for which I blame the world is really noise inside of me!

“Christ has asked me to “die” so that I can really begin to live now. This is what the fourth Gospel calls abundant life. It is a new and fuller life; it means not so much any external difference as a different quality of life.”

–Esther de Waal, Living with Contradictions


13 Replies to “COTTONWOOD, IDAHO”

  1. I am printing this and laminating it for a bookmark ❤?

  2. I am printing this and laminating it for a bookmark ❤?

  3. Hi Heather-
    So much packed into these few lines. Was watching a Peter Kreeft interview on YouTube recently. In it, Kreeft quotes Blaise Pascal. I cannot remember the exact quote, but roughly paraphrasing, he said that all the ills of the world can be traced back to our inability to sit quietly out room. Kreeft punctuated the thought with "try it; try to sit quietly, alone in a room for one hour." I took him up on it and found myself surprisingly agitated by all that silence I say I crave!

    You have been photographing some of my favorite plants.

  4. oops…meant "in our room."

    1. Ha Andrea, have heard that wonderful quote before and can never remember who said it, so okay then, Pascal! In light of the responses here, I'm going to work on a post for next week that further explores the terrible tension many of us feel at the prospect of sitting quietly in our room…and how that's panned out for me these last few weeks in Cottonwood…Thanks so much for weighing in.

  5. Love this post!
    Here's my latest attempt at silent prayer: Left work for a cabin i'm lucky to be able to stay at for free, got there by 7:30 pm and had 2.5 hours to eat, sleep and pray in total silence in a remote mountain place. Got a lot done quick and had 2 hours for perfect silence. Sat down and pondered the view of distant mountains and a very close Dad; as the sunset got awesome, i wanted some almond milk but no distractions. 30 minutes later couldn't get the milk out of my mind so went to pray in the living room, by which time there was a spectacular lightning storm He was putting on. Lost all track of what i was talking and listening about and followed the storm like a little boy chasing a ball near an alley. Still wanted milk and finally gave in. Looked back out the kitchen window and complained that the sunset should have lasted longer. Went back to the living room and turned to read an enthralling book about some 50 Catholics, who haven't made, and may never make sainthood. Got hit by a tired stick that was so powerful that i had to say sorry, i need to sleep.
    Woke up the next day stressed as to how to get back to work on time, got caught behind 2 country drivers who annoyed the hell out of me, and then went to work only to be yelled at by my boss, who was totally right about the correction and complained in my heart for about 4 hours. Sick of myself, i wondered at my weakness for the rest of the day, only to hear the gentle whisper -I love you- and thought, Lord for all my misery, for all the joys, i'm so often baffled. And then i saw that for all those miseries and joys i wouldn't trade in my miserable attempts to have any of them taken away, or all of them enhanced. No way!

    1. "And then i saw that for all those miseries and joys i wouldn't trade in my miserable attempts to have any of them taken away, or all of them enhanced. No way!" That is KEY! Your description of your efforts to say the Rosary mirror many of mine and I laughed out loud–I think St. Therese of Lisieux somewhere compared her efforts at prayer to a one-year-old trying to clamber up the first few steps of a staircase…I'm sure our efforts at prayer aren't judged any more harshly. More on all this later! Thanks, Dave.

  6. Not sure my last comment went through– so here goes: Thanks for your words here– they really resonate with me. I recently left a demanding career as a teacher for a great new 9-5 job… only to realize that I wanted to run from the newfound spaces of silence in my life and fill them with social media, movies, podcasts… Not bad things, but ways of avoiding confronting myself.

    Any advice, Heather? Would love to see you write about this more.

    1. Maura, bless you. I struggle of course with the same impulses/tensions. And being in relative silence and solitude (which I purportedly crave) for almost three weeks now has reminded me all over again of a haiku I've always loved:

      "In Kyoto,
      hearing the cuckoo,
      I long for Kyoto."

      I don't know if I have any advice, but I definitely have some reflections/thoughts on this issue, and since you asked (and others have commented), I am definitely going to work up a post on it soon–thank you so much, Maura!

  7. …oh man, when i heard "I love you" it wasn't audible, but clearly heard in the recesses of my heart (just want to be clear i'm no Catherine of Sienna). The strange thing seems to be that He doesn't take note of my weakness when i try. Last night i couldn't bring myself to say the rosary for some reason. I was tired, for sure, and there was my natural resistance. So i decided to walk outside and say it as best i could. Sometimes i'm so inept at this, or so distracted, that i just say -Mary, mom all i can promise to give you here is my words and some time. And still today i'm disheartened that last night's efforts seemed to produce so little, in my eyes. But at least such prayer has become a "being with" our Lord and His friends. And i keep trying, and it seems keep failing. But it appears He doesn't mind as much as i do that i'm often not good at it, or even have a huge desire. His humility seems as great as His love, and i'm taken aback by it all.

  8. Anonymous says: Reply

    Heather, Your words truly resonate with me.. thank you.
    I requested my library purchase 'Ravished' and just picked it up the other day.
    Your wisdom not only gives me pause to ponder.. but fractures the portal of my heart and brings me to tears.
    You are truly our treasure, a Godly gift. xoxoxo Rose

    1. Rose, a thousand thanks for your support and love–and thanks to your local library for complying with your request for RAVISHED! Some people seem not to "get" the book at all–but the ones that do respond deeply…and I'm so grateful.


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