Monday, January 2, 2017
simplicity, hardship and poverty
who knows what your words might stir
a year to ponder
For many years, I have used a guide book to start my day, "A Year With Thomas Merton". He, the deceased writer and Trappist monk. His encouraging words have changed lives for over 50 years. Today, I was struck by this sentence: "How good it is to have a rule in which simplicity, and poverty, and hardship play so large a part so that you can give yourself up to God by it !" Why did this sentence cause my heart to swell? I ponder his life. He had just come back from breaking rock with his brothers: hardship. He lived in a cold cell, clothed in simple black and white garb and ate plain meatless meals: poverty. His entertainment was prayer and liturgy, five times a day: simplicity. What could that possibly mean for my life?
Some small ways came to mind.
I took my wooden Russian rosary and walked our property in the rain. Hardship?As it turned out, it was the opposite.The beeches, who refuse to let go of their tanned curled leaves brought me joy. As if they say: "I will not let these woods be just dark brown and grey. Against odds, I will show off with my shaking leaves that provide color and when the breeze blows, the sweet murmur of shimmering paper. Yes, I heard them say that. And then there is water in the floodplain, in some places cascading over logs and through spaces between the trees.The river comes over the rise to greet me and remind me that it is still there.
Simplicity? I am slowly making my way through a stack of cookbooks that forlornly sit on a spice rack; sad from never being opened. Let's let them go to another who may find the perfect meal to make with its
And then there is poverty, which I will have to struggle to even imagine. All I could do today was not go to Ebay and look longingly for Tuck's Postcards.These cards are over a hundred years old, and often have paintings of nature with a snippet of an old English poem.Heaven!I will not think of those today.These are small things, I know, but in the world of the Spirit, one never knows where an idea, stamped in gold with my name on it, might lead.Amen.