This stained glass window is from the Chapel at Bishop's Ranch near Healdsburg, CA… my not even 2-day Silent Advent Retreat. The retreat center had been overseen by the Society of St. Francis in, I believe, the 1970's and '80's. The stained glass windows are a testament of Franciscan gratitude to "Brother Sun," "Sister Moon," "Brother Fire" and many other aspects of God's glories here on earth and in the heavens. "My Lord be praised...." they all say over and over.
I'm allowing this first day of 2011 to be a private retreat of my own, punctuated with the odd phone call and later sharing a "good luck meal" with two friends from my parish … a couple I'd run into at the Northgate Mall last night after running an errand at Macy's and pondering a film I ultimately did not see. I returned home to say Evening Prayer, candles ablaze. And take two bites of naughty chocolate cheesecake (shhhh!).
It is quiet.
My soul has yearned for quiet and I'm letting the Holy Spirit shush my jittery jagged should machine. Another breath. Raindrops, then my furnace kicking on again. Not far away the shoulds are glowering, hissing to judge. "Not enough!" a bony finger twitches.
I breathe again and thank God for the quiet.
While one of the blessings of Bishop's Ranch is their kitchen staff - and the joys of being served such glorious food! - I can savor my own bed even while the odd challenge gnaws away at me. I am rarely devoid of "…but what about THIS????" I am praying through more instances of their shrill jabs. I can be accountable to the Lord and not unduly idle… and taking restorative time feels, right now, like a gift. I know how to giddyup. God knows that, too.
One of today's gifts is peace. Today is a good day to be softly happy and alive.