Thursday, March 05, 2009
down the home stretch
Each day we begin with Eucharist, followed by a time of sharing reflections and responses/reactions to the day before. It was interesting that essentially all of us ran into frustrations on the second day. The writing has a subtle intensity about it, and as we each sighed with relief with every piece of shared frustration the laughter in the circle grew. As one person related, the laughter served as therapy for her, who left a difficult situation at home that morning. The adult son of our teacher, Teresa, deployed yesterday to Afghanistan, so there are any number of us who carry burdens that are eased by the balm of this holy time of creation in creation. I wish there was more time to spend in conversation with each other because it is clear that some wonderful things would grow from this collection of journeyers.
Yesterday we also added a new element to the week's experience--the blessing of hands. After our time of sharing a single votive was lit and placed in the center of our circle, and the lights were shut off. We are in a basement room, so this was it for light! But gradually our eyes adjusted, and out of the darkness one of our members sang the chant from the opening of the Easter Vigil, "The Light of Christ," to which we responded, "Thanks be to God." The veriscle and response is sung three times, raised in pitch a bit each time, followed by a period of silence and then another repetition. We were bathed in the mystery of that powerful chant, the light overcoming darkness and the grace of silence penetrating our souls. At last the silence was broken with a prayer, and the lights came back on. From there I blessed a bowl of water that would be used to rinse each other's hands. We returned to our work following that exchange.
Mary and Jesus now have faces and hands that actually resemble faces and hands. It took the day to apply those layers carefully, and this morning I will need to return to Jesus' face for some remedial work. His small features don't take well to a brush not skillfully guided by my hands! I think today we will also apply the gold leaf, and our work will begin to resemble a finished product. I have plenty to do to tweak some areas that need attention in the meantime.
I am already feeling sad that this week is coming to a close, but there's no sense borrowing from future grief while I can still enjoy this present time. I wish you all could share this experience--it is extraordinary.