The Gift of Time and Wonder.

May 30, 2017

Wonder. noun. A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
Wonder. verb. Desire or be curious to know something.

Time of Wonder is a 1957 book by Robert McCloskey that we read to our girls when they were little. It describes, in words and bright pictures, a family’s summer on a Maine island where they discover the joy of simple activity, the rest of quiet nights, and the thrill of sailing on Penobscot Bay. They endure a frightening night when a hurricane strikes, and in the morning discover evidence of the first residents of the island. It’s a great book for young children, and for all ages. It might set a nice atmosphere for your summer. McCloskey is the author of many books including Make Way for Ducklings.

This sabbatical is a time of wonder for me. First and foremost, I want to say how grateful I am! Thank you, people of St. Peter’s for giving me this time and the resources to explore and be surprised, both within myself and in the world!

The first two weeks of the sabbatical were filled with transitions: getting one daughter ready to spend the summer at college doing neuroscience research; and the other ready to move into her first apartment. Talk about a time of wonder!

The past week I’ve spent at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY, on the banks of the Hudson. The quiet routine of monastic living is conducive to winding down. The monks gather for prayer five times a day, and observe silence from 8:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. My favorite service is Compline, at 8 p.m., when we are sprinkled with holy water. I think of it as the monastic version of the Sandman. It has taken some adjustment to this lifestyle, mostly as I unplug from all the technology I use daily. I’ve realized how occupied my brain and heart have become with busyness and too much distracting information.

This last weekend was spent with the writer Beverly Donofrio, of several memoirs including Riding in Cars with Boys, and Looking for Mary. Beverly led a retreat called Your Life as Story, and ten of us spent the time writing about our lives. Not only did I enjoy mining my memories, but it was such a blessing to hear the stories of others.

Speaking of stories, here’s a podcast from On Being with Krista Tippett I recently heard, the importance of stories and communities that create space for us to listen and experiment with ideas that are different from our own. This is what we’re trying to create with our Going Local efforts. “If you want a culture that’s going to take on fake news, and the political lie…What you need is more storytelling. What you need is more discourse. What you need is more imagination…and more of a sense of what it is that ties us to those words and ties us to those stories.”

I continue to light my St. Peter’s candle and pray for you, wishing you all God’s blessings! Deo Gratias!

1 reply
  1. Christine Long
    Christine Long says:

    Joyous to read your first blog . Been taking year long course on spiritual formation . The silence and listening to God is very hard to do …. but SO worthwhile . Look forward to the next blog ‘


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