Out there in faith

Trish StefanikA Benedictine Sojourner's View, Living in Community, Monastic Life 2 Comments

Gravity keyart_facebook cAnother Benedictine Sojourner and I are reflecting on the movie, Gravity, and how it spins with our life at Holy Wisdom Monastery. The basic plot conveys both the exhilaration and perils of space exploration. One line in the film pierces my sense of self: “You have to learn to let go.” (See my last blog post.) We muse on the breathless, frightening scene when medical engineer Ryan Stone becomes disconnected from the space shuttle and is hurled through the darkness of deep space. Though unmoored, Ryan’s spacesuit provides some measure of protection and stability. Where am I finding protection and stability in the midst of change?

As I am settling into a rhythm in my sojourner time here at the monastery, I also relate to Ryan’s less precarious experience a few scenes later. She, for a time, has recovered her breath safely inside the international space station. There she sheds her spacesuit and simply allows herself to float effortlessly in zero gravity. Heaven. Can I live so freely into a new way of being? Our sojourner experience can be quite a ride. We each experience both discomfort and comfort, confusion and clarity. I trust we are also finding our way home.

I have just returned from a few days at a woodland retreat center up north. Yes, even though one lives at a beautiful monastery and retreat facility, there is value in taking time apart from the daily routine for an extended stretch of silence and solitude. It is restorative. It is the invitation Holy Wisdom Monastery offers to guests. Our hope is that people who come here can experience rest and renewal, that they discover the inner resources or recover the sensibility to best shepherd them in their everyday lives.

I resonate with another scene in Gravity. With limited options for survival, Ryan closes her eyes, not knowing what to do next. Suddenly the communications radio picks up someone speaking in a language she cannot comprehend. In the background, however, she hears a baby’s cry. She reacts wide-eyed as if awakened by her own voice. In that single moment she tunes into the will to live. (Don’t worry about a movie spoiler, there’s still more to the story.) The scene makes me think of the babies and little children in our Sunday Assembly worshiping community. It is often their playful gurgles, comments and commotion that seem to call us into a fresh, new perspective.

On retreat I curled, womblike, in a big comfy chair in front of the hermitage window and watched the leaves fall. I journaled, prayed, napped and for a time allowed myself to simply lean back, as if floating, in the deep space of God’s unconditional love. I come back to community life more assuredly alive, and ready to explore more of this wide open universe.


The children will lead

Little Ruthie
just a month discovering
her two little feet
to propel her
forward into the great
unknown of life.

She balances swaying
leaning back to center
then steps out in
earnest undefiled
by any fear of knowing
that we fall.

What she knows,
without thinking,
is the One voice
calling her forth

See, hear, live, now.

img_5840-Kent Sweitzer cropped sm c


Follow this link to read more of Trish’s blog posts: Living in Community – A Benedictine Sojourner’s View


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