Monthly Archives: May 2016

Unloading the Dishwasher

I have not regularly unloaded the dishwasher for years. It was always my husband’s chore. I ignored the process unless there was a quality control issue. He never complained. Now he watches, unable to help, but supportive as always.

Over the past few months, I have noticed a pattern emerging of loading and unloading, of placement and displacement. I notice this morning that it has become a contemplative practice for me. It is like a form of Tai Chi, a whole body exercise, as I move back and forth between cupboard and dishwasher.

I find myself thinking about the day ahead. I pray for people, for situations, for grace…

They say that the best way to learn is to teach. The past six weeks have been filled with contemplative practices – often in theory. I speak of contemplative knitting as we get to know both ourselves and God and of contemplative collage as a way of waiting and discernment for the way ahead.

Undocumented until today, I practice without awareness – contemplative unloading of the dishwasher. This must be similar to – an updated version of – Brother Lawrence’s prayer while peeling potatoes of four centuries ago. God companions us when we are unaware – even as we develop our awareness skills. Hmm.

“Fall on my Knees” lyrics

http://thebrowders.com/lyrics/onmyknees.pdf

for the song check out Matthew Browder on youtube

IMG_3112

“Unloading the Dishwasher” DS

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The Spirituality of Waiting

Waiting II

“Waiting II” DS Mixed Media on Paper

White gallon pails of plaster paint lined the walls and filled spaces under rough wooden tables in the sturdy outbuilding near the un-ploughed fields of green acreage. The fresco paint had been waiting almost a decade then for someone with strength who knew how to mix paint in the ancient way. Father Dunstan showed our visiting art class the extensive Cubist drawings he had created over a lifetime. I could not grasp their full extent even from the white vellum drawings scrolled out on the old table.

In many ways it was an idyllic day:

– White clouds in a blue sky

– A walk along a narrow path ending on a precipice overlooking a vast flat valley

– Lavish stained glass cut outs in a grey concrete building

– A tower building where Jesuit priests pulled bells ringing the hours of the day

– Simple delicious meals presided over by a conversational priest

Father Dunstan Massey waited years for others to make the decision to hire a craftsman, and for the person with the skills to help, to be identified, and to be available.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Monk+devotes+life+adorning+Mission+Westminster+Abbey/8303040/story.html

At Regent College Bookstore one day I saw his book now written, the project now completed. I took in the photos of Father Dunstan on scaffolding as a really old man supervising the fulfillment of his dream. Later I returned to Westminster Abbey, Mission, B.C. for a retreat weekend. I saw the completed work in person– a privilege unusual and unforeseen. Time for God is so unlike our idea of timing. So many things are brought together that we are unaware of.

I wait today for others to decide for my work after graduation. I do interviews, present materials and ideas for projects and time periods that fit for me. I make tentative study and materials preparations. I rearrange storage space. Two venues have decided ‘not yet.’ Two more have passed the time when their decision would be made. Three alternatives have been approached and are now silent. Waiting is hard – especially in planning our schedules and keeping a good attitude.

There are so many ways of waiting – a birth, a death, a wedding, for something to be over, for something to start, even to endure something. We wait for winter to pass. The seeds now planted, I watch every leaf form wishing for flowers to appear right away. I want my garden to flourish. But I know, I must water, weed and feed. It is God who makes things grow when it is time.

After asking God to guide and open doors, I now want the guidance to be on my schedule and the doors I knock on to be the ones that open. Yet, our mysterious God works wonders that make no sense to us. Why old age for Father Dunstan? Indeed why me? We wait together with God. As the plan grows to fruition, we mature. We develop true intimacy with our Maker.

Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.  

Book of Romans