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Quiet Day with the BOS(S)

It was Quiet Day on campus today at the Big Old Seminary.

It started with Holy Eucharist (Rite II) including the Proper for All Baptized Christians, and was followed by a meditation on "Joy in an Age of Anxiety". We then moved into silence, contemplation and solitude. After chapel, I found a cozy spot in Scott Lounge just outside the refectory (because coffee was nearby & plentiful) where I sat, read and wrote in a journal. The beauty of all this, the true gift of the day, was the release from doing school work, and the luxury of time to just 'be with God'.

A classmate recommended a book to me, "Learning To Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life" by Philip Simmons  Simmons had taught English literature & creative writing at a college in Illinois until, at age 35, he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease; his prognosis was that he maybe had five more years to live. Living another ten years, he wrote a series of essays about signs of grace found in a life still very much worth living. This was my reading for the day. And amidst reading, journaling and walking about campus, I myself found wonder in most everything I encountered.

It had been awhile (again) since I had blogged, and even longer since journaling (with paper & pen). I relished this time, freedom and space to just 'sit & be'. And I found my recurring thought was "Lord, my prayer is that I may be in love with the world around me and at peace with myself." Throughout the day, I recalled "falls" in my life and the blessings which grew out of them through God's Grace. Walks during the mid-morning and early afternoon were special times of prayerful ambling about campus which was littered with others on benches, under trees, and sitting at tables engaged in various activities of reading, writing, prayer and rest. 

What a different kind of joy lunch was today. Silence, for the most part, during meal fellowship in the refectory! There was the clinking of glasses and utensils accompanied by the clashing of plates. Rather than the customary "y'all come" cattle call, there was a distributed ebb and flow of hungry people coming in and satisfied souls going back out. There were the sparse, intermittent words of need or convenience, but mostly just nods, bows, waves, winks and from time to time a handshake or hug. The quiet solitude of community gathered with the purpose of silence to seek and find (or be found by) the Holy. I began to think of the people who have passed through this place, including my father and father-in-law (for it is through the BOS that Heart of My Heart & I met), all knowing God in some way, but seeking to know God and themselves more fully. And there were times of amusement when suddenly a window became a door (thanks, Les!). The food that feeds us is good, but it is our common fellowship that sustains us.

The afternoon concluded with a second meditation titled "Wonder in an Age of Cynicism" before closing with an Office to Close a Quiet Day (Noonday Prayer). The Rev. Dr. Anne Katherine Grieb's words nicely wrapped up the theme from Holy Baptism, ",,,,the Gift of Joy and Wonder in all Your Works." (BCP 308). I look forward to taking classes with her.

How refreshing to just 'be'. To joy in the little things and rejoice in the greater things. To dance, to wander, to wonder, and to rest & renew. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy is great!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Quiet Days were always something I looked forward too, and I still do. We all need a break from the hubbub of every day life. My schedules at VTS seemed that I was always hurrying to get from one class to another - a rush to lunch - then a rush back to afternoon classes- then a rush to the library to get some research done before leaving for home trying to avoid the rush hour traffic.

Enjoy them while you can. I would like to say that once you have been ordained and go to your first position that things quiet down, but I would not be truthful in saying that. Quiet days are something that I found frequently was something I was tempted to slide bye, and that always was a big mistake. Set them as a priority in your life and then honor yourself by uphold them - they are extremely important.

Love, Dad
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