Sacred work

May 20, 2003

A week or so ago I received from America a small, yet potent gift of Kentucky bourbon fudge made by the Gethsemani Trappist monks. The side of the box offered this insight: “The monks of Gethsemani are called to a balanced life of prayer, sacred reading and work”.

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I pondered and mulled over this for a few days and, in the end, decided that my life wasn’t too much different than that of the monks (even to the point of being celibate for nearly two years). Nothing was intentional. It just evolved into this pattern. And (mostly), I gracefully accept it.

My prayers happen throughout the day. Some occur during the daily rituals of sitting at the Peace Fire and surfing. Others, when I am carving or simply staring into the treed hill side.

Sacred readings are eclectic; anything from Rilke’s ‘Book of Hours’ to Michael Pollan’s ‘The Botany of Desire’ and David Suzuki’s edited collection ‘When the wild comes leaping up’.

But what is my work?

The poet Mary Oliver, when writing about her future death, says: “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

She wants to be the bride married to amazement. She wants to be the bridegroom taking the world into her arms. She wants to have made of her life something particular and real.

Her work, therefore, is to insure that this happens.

Likewise, for me.

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