Friday, June 14, 2013

Be still...

I had not a moment of hesitation when I was asked by my friend Roxane if I wanted to join her for a few days at the Carmelite Monastery again last weekend.  When I counted back the months, I realized it was last October the first time I visited.

It was a small feat to actually get packed and go.  I kept my eyes peeled for the signs as we drew near.  Then suddenly we rounded the corner of the gravel road and we'd arrived. 

I brought a grocery box filled with food to donate to the Sisters as they subsist off of those very donations, along with the food they grow in a garden.  

I don't know what it is, how it is, why it is, but the moment I got out of the car my burdens started to ease.  I breathed fresh air deeply.  The wind was stiff, but not too cool.  Rain threatened in the distance and the clouds were abundant.

But the richness of the greens around?  Life affirming. Dripping with color, saturated with such intense green.  I said a hasty good bye to the boys and Rick and hurried in to find "my room."  The soft blue walls, with the antique white bedspread, the worn bible with the black rosary strung across it on the nightstand.  It feels like coming home.

Within moments of my arrival, the bell sounds in the distance and its lunch time.  The video below is from my first visit, but the sound is precisely the same.  Somehow, I'm in tune with the bell.  It quietly beckons for me to come and nourish my body.

Yet I was restless after dinner.  My head still swimming with the momentous treatments ahead of me and how they would affect me, and Superman, and the boys.

So I grabbed my camera and headed outdoors, and each click shifts my focus, away from ME and towards all that is right in front of me.  I completely lose myself in walking the grounds, snapping photos, getting caught in the drizzle of the rain.  

I am eyes, ears, breathe.  

Its quiet.  But its when I become completely still, I then suddenly become in tune with the non-quiet.  Because the birds are chirping.  And the wind is whipping through the trees rattling the branches and ruffling the leaves.  

Be still...

Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God;"

And then the squawking begins.

Its guinea hens!  And oh how they scold when I approach too closely.

Dare I say God has a sense of humor?

My stillness retreats with me inside.  

I look through my photos...

The more still I become, the more minute my focus becomes... the bigger my God feels.

The weekend unravels my mind.  Hushes my spirit.  Quiets the unrest.  

Roxane and I share our views on faith, and life and everything.  

Mother Joseph requests a visit and she is wise, humorous, warm, and so filled with light it radiates from her.  I feel bathed in peace and grace after our visit. 

She asks if I'll come back and visit again?  I so will, indeed, I will. 

We leave Sunday night.

I leave... ready... still... and knowing.  


I'm slowly recovering this week.  I tire easily and have had some bouts with nausea.  

But I've been completely overwhelmed with gratitude at just how well I've done overall.  I feel its nothing short of a miracle that I am still me.

I spent the whole weekend last week, listening to bells beckon me to eat, to pray, to sleep. How truly profound that closure came for me in a celebratory ringing of my own bell.  


  1. Praising God for the gift of the week going so much better than you thought. Praying the peace from last weekend permeates this one and that the treatments are successful beyond your imaginations. Holding you close in prayer.

  2. So glad you had this time to be still and quiet, and laugh, and praise, and rest. Thanks for sharing it with me. I feel your sweet peace coming through this post! XOXO

  3. What a blessing that has been for you and a blessing to us as you shared the photos , etc with us!
    Yes, the hens will tell you that you are too close for their comfort. But you were able to capture their photo anyway. I love how you capture nature and Gods handiwork all around you!

  4. What a blessing that has been for you and a blessing to us as you shared the photos , etc with us!
    Yes, the hens will tell you that you are too close for their comfort. But you were able to capture their photo anyway. I love how you capture nature and Gods handiwork all around you!

  5. What a lovely spiritual weekend, Vicky! I've been saying prayers for you and your family. Hope your weekend is nausea and pain free.

  6. You grabbed your camera and immediately your focus shifted from you to all that was in front of you...this is a God-thing for me Vicky. I'm going to do this...struggling with spiraling thoughts is a've given me a way to shift the focus. I've been thinking about visiting the monastery where Brother Mark lives (he made all of our prayer bracelets)- You've given me the push I need to do that.
    love u

  7. Loved your post Vicky. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay at the monastery. I do hope you feel stronger soon.

  8. I'm not facing the same battle you are, but I can totally relate to the camera being able to shift your focus. That's precisely the reason I got mine. Your photos are the proof that there is much out there, in front of you, so much beauty to see.

  9. This is beautiful - what a wonderful place to spend time. I believe that when you set aside time in such a way, it becomes doubly precious. Doubly blessed. You remain in my prayers.

  10. So happy to check in with you and see the beautiful photos and feel your grateful spirit. Miracles and love - all around us.

  11. Not too many things give me a smile and chills at the same time and this. This post did! I took a deep breath just reading your post breathing in the stillness. SO happy you went and did this. So awesome... :)

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Oops. Typos made me cringe...see new version below. Ha! :)

  13. [Starting over to correct the typos from my earlier attempt...] Oh Vicky...I feel badly I wasn't the first to comment. :) After all, I searched for this post yesterday, and when it didn't pop up, I thought that perhaps you were waiting a bit more. I smiled to find it now, and to relive the experience with you. We were there together, and yet, separate in the moments I was buried in my words, and you were buried in thoughts of green and sprinkles. I am so happy you got out onto the grounds so I, too, can now experience a bit of what I missed! I have to say, the guinea hens...made me giggle. What a great photo! And then the by one...I felt so peaceful to see them through your eyes. It really was like I was back there again. Thank you thank you. And yes, we will be back, and I look forward to our next visit to Carmel! Thanks for agreeing to return with me for a while. XXOO, Roxane

  14. What a beautiful place! I am glad you have managed to make it through this week with the memories of your weekend pushing you through.

  15. This post made ME take a deep breath and breathe it all in. What a perfect place for what you needed right now, Vicky. The flowers were so lovely and each one could be studied for an age. So much there - so many metaphors for all you're going through. And I love that Mother Joseph visited with you especially and brought you light and comfort. May it continue to bathe you and guide you as you face all these challenges. Praying the nausea will abate. Much love and serious hugs. I'm a SERIOUS hugger.

  16. That is such a beautiful place to recoup your energy and to reflect.
    The Iris pic is so beautiful too.
    I am glad you had a nice talk with Mother Joseph and So thankful
    everything went well for you after that.
    You are making beautiful memories to look back on in spite of everything.
    Forever in my prayers girl.

  17. This sounds so good. I am glad that amidst everything you are taking care of YOU!!


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