“Writing,” Henri Nouwen wrote, “can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.”
As glorious as the world is, it is also often broken, violent and hurting. So when we fail ourselves and wound and harm each other, let us turn our eyes to God and ask for strength to make it right. Let us find creative ways to make it better. Let us see the goodness in ourselves and share that with the world.
It takes stillness to get a true reflection, just as a camera must be held perfectly still to capture a clear image. And stillness, like quiet and like solitude, is harder and harder to find in our busy lives.
Just as we can observe nature as it moves and grows and reproduces, so too can we learn to look for and notice the movement of God in our lives.
What better and further proof, if we have need of that, of God’s presence and action in the world than that of an heirloom tomato just hours from being on the vine.
It’s so easy to go through life not astonished because we don’t look and listen for these sideways glances into the mind and heart of God. They are there, ever present, like their creator, but it’s up to us to look, see, note and name them.
Located between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek is one of the region’s manmade (and woman-designed!) wonders: The Chapel of the Holy Cross.
God can never be confined to a building or to a set of beliefs. He cannot be bound even by sacred scripture and the most intimate experiences of sacrament and prayer, however real and powerful I believe those to be. He is there in those sacred moments in church, surely, but he is not limited by that experience. How could the creator of the universe be? And why would he want to be?
Perfection (and the search for perfection) is a tough nut to crack and a dangerous road to journey down. For if we live our lives in constant quests for perfect lives, perfect love, perfect health, perfect family, perfect jobs – how disappointed in ourselves and in God we will be when that perfection never comes (or makes a brief appearance and then disappears in the next turn in the road, as it often does.)
The point is this: We don’t really own the land. We are given the blessing of calling bits and pieces of it “home” for a while, but it belongs to the creator and to the lives of all who have touched it and worked it and walked it over the years.