Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The Anchoress is holding an online retreat at her web site all this week which includes reflections, prayers, and even a great essay on canning your own preserves (which for this born-and-bred, buy-my-jam-in-a-jar city boy holds a certain appealing charm). If you need a spiritual break in your day, be sure to visit the site for daily updates and inspiration. Here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite:

The notion of “God’s will” or “God’s love” is an invitation to surrender. Surrender is not passivity. It is not simply looking at the cards you’ve drawn and announcing, “I got nothing, I’m out.” It’s looking at the cards and saying, like Hamlet, “I will this brother’s wager frankly play” even if the outcome does not look like it can be remotely satisfying from your perspective.
When we look back on our lives we can see how we planned some things rather early, but due to timing, unexpected roadblocks and the repercussions from other choices we may have made (either without thinking, or because we were caught by surprise, or we’d simply run out of options) those first early plans got pushed aside into the pile of “somedays” where we thrust our dreams and wishes; we don’t forget about the early plans, we simply let them gather dust and languish, until we start believing that they were “silly” ideas, after all - unreasonable plans, best left untouched and unvisited - and we just allow ourselves to be sad about it...I think when we reach that point - when we come to think of time and opportunity as having fully “passed,” and options being “over” - we begin to fade away, because we are no longer using time, but simply existing within it...We live in this illusion called time - and every day within it brings us opportunities, and we make choices about those chances - do we stay or go, do we read or stare, do we pursue a dream or let it lie untried, simply because the chance to pursue it didn’t come when we wanted it to, when we thought it should?
It’s a lot of work, canning jam. The fruit won’t wait. It will rot if we don’t get to it right away. It’s hot work in a hot summer. It is patiently washing and cutting, boiling and cooking, timing and adding ingredients and constant stirring. Sterile jars, sterile lids, long hours on your feet getting everything immaculately clean, timing everything just right... It would be so much easier not to do this, wouldn’t it?...Impatience fills me, time passes me by. Planning? My whole life is lived out of the daily planner. But what have I done? How exactly have I enjoyed the moments of my own existence? Can I honestly say I am satisfied with its fruit?

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