Rev. Howard Thurman begins his second day of devotions this way: “There is very great virtue in the cultivation of silence, and strength to be found in using it as a door to God.” (18)
I remember my cancer days when I was living alone, trying to fight in and through the imposed silence of illness and recent divorce. I remember the endless days of prolonged silence, prayers and tears. I remember focusing on pink healthy tissue and talking my body into warrior mode. I remember thinking God was disciplining me for some infraction in my past – some direction I had or hadn’t taken, some choice I had made that went against God’s divine will for me. I remember, and still experience at times, a depression so pervasive that not only my spirit but also my body ached.
And, during those cancer days, I’ve come see that I cultivated a silence that sanctioned an opening to the Presence of the Holy One. I was sent messengers who cradled my broken spirit, e.g., Rev. Alois Ososo, a pastor from Kenya who was in the country for a few months and in my care for a few weeks. My most-honored-best-friend, Pat, who was my ever present island of refuge. And, I developed new and strong friendships that would not have come to pass, had I not traveled that debilitating road and truly needed others.
A man, a musician and mystic, whom I met right after finishing my protocol treatments, has engendered my mystic soul through his pilgrimage retreats. Each August I found myself in a wooded retreat center practicing a monastic rhythm with Stefan, aka Macushla, and a wide variety of other retreat participants. These retreats included long periods of silence and featured original chant music with a profound alchemy of Celtic joviality and spiritual transcendence. I learned to sit through the painful renderings, mine and others’, that comes from being still in the presence of God, and particularly while sitting quietly in community.
I miss those days. I miss how we usher one another to God’s door and then step aside to allow each other our own entrance.
Draw Me Nearer
O My Heart’s Desire
Dip me deep beneath the surface
Let me glide effortlessly to you in the center of life
in the depth of senses
in the nook of what can be possible
Draw me into the cubby that fits my shape
that serves my work
that protects my heart
that prospers my contentment