Saturday, June 8, 2013

Would you like a cup of tea?

“I am trying to arrange my life so that I don’t even have to be there,” reads an anonymous quote on one of my calendars.  I laughed out loud!  It was kind of funny on first reading but when I looked again and started thinking more seriously about those words I decided they were words I might take to my prayer.  There are entirely too many moments in my life when I’m not really present to where I am or what I'm doing.   I’m not truly with the person I’m encountering.  It’s not that I don’t want to be there; it’s just that another part of my brain is somewhere else, or in the planning mode for a new event.   

My word to pray during May was PRESENCE.   Although I have chosen the word, RESILIENCE for June I am still contemplating the spiritual significance of living in 'the presence'.  Being present to God, to others, to all of creation, to my experiences of joy, doubt, confusion, grief, beauty, inspiration etc is not easy.  It really is a spiritual practice and being intentional about what I do or say is crucial for healthy living.  

I've been remembering all the people I've promised to have tea with, (tea here is sort of a metaphor for whatever you like to drink with a friend)  and wondering why we haven't followed through with our plans.  Ordinarily, for me, it is because I have a fairly full schedule in addition to making a concentrated effort at leading a monastic life.   Still, an important part of our charism is also leisure and sharing is necessary for building good relationships. 

All this musing has brought me to the point of playfully reflecting on people with whom I would like to have tea.  If someone is deceased it is not too late for tea.  (If you don't understand this meet me for tea and I'll explain)  I'll make my list and then you, too, might like to make a list.

First I'll put on the kettle!   

From among those who have passed to the other shore,
 here is a very incomplete list:

St. Benedict and Scholastica
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Macrina of Cappadocia
Julian of Norwich
The poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
Ettty Hillesum
Opal Whitely
anonymous author of the cloud of unknowing
my unknown grandmother
Oscar Romaro
Pope John XXIII
Johnny Cash
Thomas Merton
Abraham Lincoln
Rigoberta Menchu
Etty Hillesum
George Washington Carver
all my family members


Mary Oliver
Anne Lamatt
Annie Dillard
Tom Hanks
Don McClean
Chris Bohjalian
Sandra Bullock
Meryl Streep
Eckhart Tolle
Wendell Berry
J.K Rowling

...and of course YOU!

Let's not arrange our lives so that we're not in them!
Meet me for Tea, and let's both be there!