Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Importance of Being Still, part 2

I think this is the other half of what my mom (Susan) wrote. I didn't know she would write what I was thinking, but here is my "half" of the story.

Teaching is a profession in which being still and centered is not only extremely difficult, but is truly undervalued. I have found, bit by bit, how imortant silence can be in this professon. Learning to be countercultural in this way has been a process, and I feel I've only nibbled a tiny corner of its vastness. Usually summer finds me drained to the dregs, heading to a silent retreat to let the beauty of the silence flow into the dry corners of my soul. This summer, I traded the silent retreat for the whirlwind of planning and executing a wedding, moving from the home I've lived in for the past ten years, and setting up my own house for the first time, not to mention the adventure of being married.

Well, I resisted all of the rushing and preparation involved in marriage at first -- I've never liked rollercoasters, especially not when I get to the part that I know for sure I won't be able to get off. But the experience was surprisingly grace-filled. It occurred to me that this was a silent retreat experience transplanted to life: an opportunity to plant pockets of silence, to feel God's presence "on the run." It was a challenge to be in each moment even when they piled on top of each other like water rushing over a waterfall.

I wasn't perfect. I certainly wished for boring moments to hurry by and became frustrated by little things. I missed beauty because I was not paying attention, and I let go of silence without considering the consequences. But the Spirit was there and was forgiving and present and loving even when I was not.

And surprisingly, the sacrament of marriage, with the mix of earthy and ethereal that so often characterizes sacraments, served as its own silent retreat. In the days that followed the wedding, I found myself as soft and open to the Spirit and to others as I have often been after spending a week in silence.

Even roller-coasters can be filled with grace.

--Sarah Curran (formerly Price)

4 comments:

Paul Corrigan said...

Thank you for sharing these reflections.

Being both a teacher and a married person (as a number of us are), I can relate.

I like especially your idea of "planting pockets of silence."

May God continue to bless your marriage in such ways!

living stones said...

Sarah, What a joy to hear your "half" of the story. I appreciate how you value the silence, and have found "the Spirit was there and was forgiving and present and loving even when I was not." That's often how it goes, But it was your ending that spoke clearest, "In the days that followed the wedding, I found myself as soft and open to the Spirit and to others as I have often been after spending a week in silence." Ah, the gift of love in operation. How beautiful! I'm touched and encouraged. Rich blessings on you and Liam--Anna

Daniel said...

Sarah, I love this confession!

"I missed beauty because I was not paying attention, and I let go of silence without considering the consequences. But the Spirit was there and was forgiving and present and loving even when I was not."

There are few days that I could go without admitting something similar. But you're right, there is a surprising amount of grace in the moment and a honeymoon every now and then. Thank you for this!

RC said...

Sarah, it's so good to see you back on the blog again! Thank you for sharing. And your insight into and response to all your drama of the past several months is insightful and encouraging for all of us. We need each other, I think. We reinforce the perspectives and character each one of us needs to live out this contemplative spirituality. Rich blessings on you and your beloved in these early days of your marriage!
--Rickey

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