Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beauty Can Be Found Anywhere

Today was another overcast and rainy day. I'm starting to feel like I live in the rain forest. I haven't checked the extended weather forecast but I am hoping for some sunny and dry days while I am at the monastery this weekend. Today was also a quiet day. I met an old high school buddy for lunch. We discussed how unreal it seems that we are having a 40th high school reunion in the fall. Can it really have been so long ago that we drove around in cars, drinking beer on the sly, and blasting rock and roll music? By the time I got out of high school I was smoking pot, dropping acid, and growing my hair long. These days I feel like I'm getting wild if I drink two Diet Cokes and order an extra topping on my pizza. Our lunch was at one of my favorite restaurants. They have an awesome fried fish sandwich. It's one of my few concessions to my attempt at healthy living. The restaurant is in a part of downtown that's a little blighted. As I was walking back to my car I heard the heavenly sound of flute music in the air. I stopped to see where it was coming from and on a nearby corner stood a street musician who was possibly homeless. It reminded me that beauty can be found anywhere.

One more workday and I will have some personal freedom. I look forward to temporarily escaping secular time and living for a bit in the sacred time and rhythm of the monastery. It is always renewing for me when I am there. It also often gives me a new appreciation for the life I have in the world. Sometimes you can be too close to your own life to appreciate it. Stepping back and getting away, even if it's only for a few days, can change your whole perspective on life.

Here's something I read tonight by an old friend and teacher from my youth. His name is Father Richard Rohr. He is a Franciscan priest, renowned preacher, and author. He taught me much in my youth and I am still learning from him.

As Eckhart Tolle points out in The Power of Now, we don’t have to be in a certain place or even a perfect person to experience the fullness of God. God is always given, incarnate in every moment and present to those of us who know how to be present ourselves.

Strangely enough, it is often imperfect people and people in quite secular settings who encounter “The Presence” (Parousia, “fullness”). That pattern is rather clear in the whole Bible.

Let’s state it clearly: One great idea of the biblical revelation is that God is manifest in the ordinary, in the actual, in the daily, in the now, in the concrete incarnations of life, and not through purity codes and moral achievement contests, which are seldom achieved anyway.

From Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, pp. 16

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