The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10
I have thought all day about an email that I received from the Abbey of the Arts about Brendan the Navigator, a monk of the 5th-6th centuries who went on an extensive journey by sea in search of the Garden of Eden. The piece was written by Christine Valters Paintner whose reflections I have come to really look forward to every week, but up until today I have always worried about being far less transcendent than I always thought I should be. It is not for a lack of trying; for years I have tried off and on to reach higher levels of awareness through various meditative practices, but what I have come to discover is that I am just not capable of sitting still long enough to transcend much of anything. I think I am a back-door kind of spiritualist; if I am doing something real and elemental that has me totally preoccupied, I transcend without even being aware of having done so until after the fact. But if I am sitting (or trying to sit) in a Lotus position while chanting or staring at candles, my skin begins to crawl and all I want to do is something/anything else. So Brendan the Navigator, who loved long sea voyages and storms really captured my heart. To this day if I sense a storm coming I still want to go for a hike, or at least go outside and bond with it.
But what really caught my attention in the article was the main point which was about finding God in the everyday activities of our lives. A lot of times we think that we have to go somewhere or do something special to connect with the divine; and sometimes we do. I am not discounting spiritual practices or rituals of worship; in fact, I love high liturgy services that are rich with tradition and ancient practices, and I would love to see more of them; but it doesn’t end there. If anything it begins there and then carries us into our tasks with a primordial rhythm that weaves us into the fabric of the universe and into the very heartbeat of God. Here in the space between the ashes we have this brief window of opportunity to create, to dance, to love, to serve and every single minute of every single day is a gift whether we are raking up muck or painting a masterpiece. Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). May it be so for all of us as we travel along the path of the ordinary into the extraordinary.