Monday, January 4, 2010

In Quietness and Confidence

Saturday five of us from SEU rode together in our old van up to St. Leo’s Abbey for a mini-retreat day. We shared silence, prayed, and walked a lot.

I love roaming the grounds at the abbey, and I’m always delighted to see ducks and birds. (I’m a city girl by birth and zip code, so animals up close and personal have a special fascination for me.) Saturday I got a special treat when I came across two small raccoons walking ever so carefully through some bushes and across a low wall. I followed them as they drank water from a puddle and climbed a palm tree to munch on berries. (I had never even noticed that palm trees have berries—lots of them—wow!) The coons stopped to watch me from time to time as I whispered gentle assurances. Eventually it occurred to me they weren’t afraid of my presence; they were calm and confident (and mildly curious). Perhaps because they are so young they don’t know any better than to parade around in broad daylight, but maybe, just maybe, in that sacred space they are able to live their life like we prayed at the abbey to live ours—without drama or hype but moving in God’s grace with quietness and confidence.


Rehoboth said...

What a beautiful word picture, Anna. I always think of the Garden of Eden when I am with animals who have not learned to fear. Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience.


living stones said...

Anna, I'm really glad I got to share this day with you! How refreshing and simple it is to reflect and be silent, observing the God that is all around us, but how difficult it can be to be disciplined and set aside time for this. I definitely struggle in this area and am really hoping to be more intentional with my time in 2010, and that every place can, in a sense, be made sacred.


Paul Corrigan said...

Thanks for sharing this, Anna. I wish I could have seen the raccoons too.

Instead, though, I did see some spiritually infused nature while we were. I walked out to the dock there on the lake. There were four poles at the end of the dock and on top of the poles, one on each, were four identical looking white birds, all pointed in the same exact direction and making the same occasional movements--or maybe, as it occurred to me, it was the same bird four times.

I thought to myself, "Ah, God imitating Andy Warhol." Many people believe, rightfully I think, that God a sense of humor.

RC said...

Anna, I'm so grateful that our marriage relationship includes sharing these kinds of spiritual dynamics! We are very, very blessed, I think.

Daniel said...

Anna, what a beautiful reflection! As a fellow city kid, it seems unfortunate to me that these opportunities aren't more common to our daily experience. I can't help being at least momentarily jealous of writers like Berry, Thoreau, and Dillard, devoting much of their lives to such observation and reflection. In any case, I'm delighted that you were able to witness this treasure at St. Leo's, and especially grateful that you chose to share.

Joy said...

Mrs. Cotton,

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful reflection. How many "little berries" do we miss in our lives because we never take the time to stop and just soak in the life all around us? May we all seek that quietness of spirit to see the hidden treasures among the trees.

In His love,

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