Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Lenten Pilgrimage--a journey of moving on by staying still
Joseph’s flight with his little family to Egypt raises aspects of pilgrimage such as finding our way forward step by step, holding loosely to our understanding of plan and road, ever listening to the Lord and attentive to His best path.
As the week closed, I felt both graced and challenged to walk for a season by remaining still. To wait and watch from the threshold, where a great deal of movement is happening. To sit quiet, with awareness antenna stretched. To listen, to feel, and to intercede. Both in my own journey where permission to rest and wait is a gift, and in the journey alongside retreatants who pray their way through hard situations where the call is to move but the way is only slowly emerging. To hold them safe and give them space to make their two steps forward, two back, one more forward, sometimes tentative, sometimes too sure and pushing too hard, sometimes in fear, yet ever moving toward faith and rest.
I am grateful that my own weariness has become less desperate, as well as for this time to be where I am, at rest yet active in the threshold.
The photos capture images that illustrate for me the pilgrimage of this third week. Sunday I needed to give time to just sit in the beginning stages of a new room off our kitchen, a beginning that had awaited us when we had returned from Albania the night before. I needed to plop down, put my feet up, and stay awhile in that construction site; to feel it and re-imagine it, knowing what was in my original drawing, and asking whether and how that should change.
As the week proceeded, I determined to leave the woodstove as originally planned, to make the upper level a foot wider and inset the step, to leave out the stone step to outside in favor of a wood platform which will support cushions for a locally-traditional maglis style conversation space (instead of the two easy chairs in front of the stove that was my first plan). I also invited the stone mason to complete a whole other project, a new terrace at the main door of the house. Which now is finished and so right. As I wrote this, Suleyman had the doors to the house down and was laying a travertine threshold and shortening the doors to clear the new stone.
Through the week craftsmen and I tussled around over chimney height, floor level, need for a drain, and the shape of the platform for the woodstove. I encouraged, praised, corrected, sought opinions, asked for changes, and provided refreshment. And enjoyed those dear men.
That next Sunday I sat down and rested again in the new space. As if I had never moved. Yet much had unfolded. In the new room, in my life, and in lives of others who sheltered with us for that season.
Ever surprising, so still, yet always in motion, this God who loves us and leads us, eh?