Prompted by yesterday's post at Abbey of the Arts I found myself pondering these words: what does it look like to strip down and surrender the unessential? What is essential? A modicum of food – water to keep me hydrated – clothing to cover my back – certainly not the closet full of items that threatens to explode into my bedroom – shoes strewn around the perimeter. I sit amid pillows, books, candles, computer, and music.
What do I really need? What is essential? The answer comes and it is this: Space and time with God. For me that includes a pen and paper to capture my thoughts. What if I let go of even that desire (to capture my thoughts)? Do I not always have them with me?
What is essential in this life? I keep thinking of the tools – the things – that help me find – meet – uncover my listening ears to experience God. I think of a monk’s quarters. Simple and sparse. A robe; sandals; a notebook and pen. Perhaps a candle to light the dark. The barest of meals served on a single tin tray and cup. If the monk is really lucky, there will be a window that overlooks the garden. With that window, the abundance expands exponentially with a view into the outside world. Yes. God is within and God is in nature - in the eyes of others - in the touch of communion.
What is essential? Must we swallow the elements of communion to be blessed or can we know deep in our being that they are but a symbol and we know what they represent.
Again, what is essential? The question frightens me a little and reminds me of my early days with my not-quite-yet husband when I feared he would announce we were chucking all of our belongings and moving to the mission field. I did not want to let go of my life. I still don’t want to let go of my things, but I feel like I could. I seem to know a bit more of what would be essential for me. I return to the thoughts of a modicum of food and water – some clothing to cover my body – pen and paper – and if I’m really lucky, a window to the outside world. (Even that assumes I have a roof over my head, and, yes, the roof is indeed a luxury.)
So, how will I hold this stripped down image as I go through these days of Lent? What is essential?
Thanks, Christine for the prompt!
photos from Paris 3.08