Then I prepare two cups of coffee for Matt and Eduardo
(The importance of routine in regards to life and our inner world)
It is interesting taking care of the elder monks. I guess we all have the rituals that we use every day that play an important role. We can do many activities without having to be overly mindful of what we are doing unless of course, we want to do so. It can also bring some comfort and the illusions that we do have some ‘real’ control over the events in our lives.
When I start my early shift there are certain ‘chores’ that I need to do. The first is that I make smoothies, between four and five every day when I am on duty. Usually, they are all consumed during the day by the same monks. So I enjoy making them.
Peeling the fruit and cutting them into pieces for our blender, along with a number of bananas, adding fruit juice and in some measure soy-milk, I find a very calming and comforting chore. I also eat the peelings and eat the cores, have done so all my life. Of course, I am bald, perhaps eating the seeds and cores have done that to me. Well worth it if that is so.
Then I prepare two cups of coffee for Matt and Eduardo, both in their early nineties and men that I have known since 1968, the first time I came to the Monastery while in the Navy. One of the two is very particular about his coffee and I am careful to do what he wants. I also find this calming, comforting.
Then I set Eduardo’s place. I get his cereal ready, soy-milk, meds, and toast. Lay them out on the table. Toast and coffee are only brought out when he comes out of his room.
Same routine every morning. Of course, this could change at any time. When Alan was alive, there was also a routine for him.
Now the infirmary can change at any time. Another monk can get very ill and it is then that routines may have to be changed around, but hopefully, the heart of it can be maintained. No one would complain if that was so, but it helps to have a good routine.
I like routines, and also non-clutter. I get the feeling of being buried alive around too much stuff. I like rooms to be neat, but that is to offset my own inner chaos, which can be extreme on some days.
So I have a routine when I feel like I am being dragged under the waterline. Sometimes it is just a matter of perspective, a change of glasses, and that helps a lot. In other situations that does not help because there is too much emotion, and so I have to wait until the water settles. Then there are times when I am going through some sort of inner-whirlwind, and it is then that my faith comes into play. It comes into play on all the above, but when I feel like I am going to be pulled apart in four different ways, I become more conscious of my relationship with Christ and take deeper root into his presence in my heart, mind, and soul.
One of the difficulties of loving oneself is the tendency I have when I feel fragmented is to project it onto reality outside of my own inner world. Once I bring it to Christ, I cannot believe what my inner-storm is telling me. I have learned that my emotions, or my emotional health at the moment, or even the depth of my belief at any one time, says nothing about the “Yes” that God has given to me, and to everyone. That is how I take root.
It is not just a change in perspective on this level but is a letting go of trying to figure what is going on and simply allowing it to work its self out. My inner life can resemble hurricane season, or a beautiful spring day, both pass, but the reality of Jesus and His presence remains.
All seekers of truth, even if they do not know what they really believe (I am there at times) do not block the grace of God in a seeking heart. God is owned by no one, Christ being God is wild as they come, cannot be tamed, and if his love is as great as revealed in scripture, His pursuit for each of us will be unrelenting as long as we live. To reject God’s love, by the very fact of its importance, has to be made consciously. Such is the dignity and tragedy of being human. That our lives, everything in our lives, especially in our relationships has eternal value and consequences.
It is not easy to keep faith, since God will not, and does not act towards us the way we think should happen. We all get knocked around in life, yet we are called to take the next step, to grow deeper into trust, and I believe that all who seek God, even if it is often unknown to the seeker, will find the pearl of great price, for that is the working of grace alone, all we need do is to seek and respond, and to let go of all that keeps us from finding the truth about ourselves, God, and the nature of life.
When inner storms hit, as well as the chaos of our lives, it is good to have routines of prayer, of a place where we can stop, breathe, take stock, and most importantly, pray from the heart.
People who seek to live a deep interior life will find out what they need to do, and over time that will change, and flexibility is learned, as well as humility. We find that we really are children in God’s eyes and will always be so. The alternative is to be childish, which only leads to greater chaos and suffering.-Br.MD
Giving up is a waste of time