Today I was up at six and ready to spring into action to start getting on with my new life!
But you know how it is….the best laid plans…
It was an indescribably disgusting morning. Sleet. Yuk. Rain I can do, snow I can do, but sleet? No thank you! It looked like it would have taken off the top layer of skin in about three nanoseconds. So running in the woods and pondering my creative future and the plot of my soon to be written bestseller went by the by. Which was a shame, but sometimes I think it’s better to admit defeat and think about tomorrow’s possibilities (and protect my skin, which is wrinkled enough without taking a major battering, thank you very much).
I wasn’t creative today. Not at all in the practical sense. But I did take a little time out to read and ponder.
For a while now I’ve been reading this:
Living with Contradictions by Esther de Waal – sorry the picture isn’t bigger, but it was the only one I could find. Sounds good? Pretty cover? The sub-title may scare your socks off – and I apologize in advance to all those of you who don’t do religion: Benedictine Wisdom for Everyday Living.
This is a great book. It sounds terrifying and I’d never have picked it up if I didn’t love the author and have a slight fascination with the simplicity and profoundness of monastic life. Esther de Waal has such a way with words and ideas that I find she can take the most unapproachable subject and make it relevant and exciting. In other words she is a very, very normal person – although I’ve never met her in person her normalcy just jumps right off the page. And between you and me, if I’m going to read theology, then that’s the sort of person I want to have written it.
Today I had come to her chapter entitled Together and Apart and I would like to just quote the following little bit of it, which hit me square between the eyes:
As the exterior world presses in on me I need time and space for myself, time and space to re-create myself, so that I shall be of more value to myself and others. I find that the rule of St. Benedict not only helps me to recognize this need but it helps me as well to impose some sort of balance, to find some sort of equilibrium.
Now the Rule (which I won’t go into here) was written in the 6th Century, but as I was reading Esther’s take on how it tells us to draw boundaries, to balance time alone with time being sociable, to know when to say no, it could have been written last week. And more to the point, it could have been written specifically for me today.
Isn’t it spooky how sometimes when we take the time to stop and ponder – and I’m not talking about religion here, but just life in general – and leave an open door, something so often pops right up and speaks to us. OK, I picked up the book this morning, but the chapter was just where I happened to have got up to and yet it was really what I needed to be hearing today.
Food for thought.