One of the wonders of this personal retreat was taking part of the Day of Recollection: Discovering the MonkWithin Retreat led by Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr. The theme of the whole weekend for me really became about finding solitude in the everyday, about experiencing life as a monastic outside the monastery walls. About slowing the pace and measuring all the steps of our days. This poem is one of the beautiful nuggets Sr. Macrina presented us with.
“In our lives, the spaces in between are the places of waiting.”
– Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr.
What makes a fire burn is the space between the logs,
A breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
Too many logs packed in too tight
Can douse the flames
Almost as surely
As a pail of water would.
So building fires
To the spaces in between,
As much as to the wood.
When we are able to build open spaces
In the same way we have learned
To pile on the logs,
Then we can come to see how it is fuel,
And absence of the fuel together,
That make fire possible.
We only need to lay a log
Lightly from time to time.
A fire grows
Simply because the space is there,
With openings in which the flame
That knows just how it wants to burn
Can find its way.
– Judy Brown
“Wherever I am, the world comes after me. It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that i don’t want it.” – Mary Oliver