Currently Reading {2.1}

Do you ever find that your reading habits happen in phases? That’s at least how I read much of the time. While I was at the monastery, I entered a phase of reading nonfiction and essays. In the past, I’ve mostly read fiction for fun, but I think a year of not being in school has begun to warm me to the idea of reading essays in my spare time.

After not reading (much) for a few months, I’ve started at it again with a few rereads from favorite authors. This week, I finished:

The Boggart — Susan Cooper

Cooper is one of my favorite fantasy authors, dating from my childhood experience of reading The Dark is Rising sequence. I reread this series earlier in the year, but couldn’t resist rereading The Boggart. This tale is of three children who inherit a mythical boggart, a prankster who is accidentally sent to Toronto with a load of furniture. The havoc he wreaks in the process of getting back to Scotland is hilarious, and the children’s adventures are both funny and touching. I will always recommend Cooper, even to those of us who are grown-up children.

 

 

The Tuesday Club Murders

As some of you may know, I am an Agatha Christie fanatic. In high school, I set a goal of reading all of her (many) books. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I certainly read quite a few! As a teen, I didn’t appreciate Ms. Marple as much as I liked Poirot, but the former has grown on me with age. The Tuesday Club Murders is a collection of short stories, where Ms. Marple solves a variety of mysteries, most through hearing secondhand stories, and declaring the solution as she counts the stitches of her knitting. Her snark and wisdom never grow old.

 

In addition to these books, I’ve also read a few fantastic articles this week that are worthy of note. This article, from The Huffington Post about millennials’ use of the public library gives me hope in our societal literacy. It also, happily, means that no one can say that millennials are “destroying libraries”. Another good, longer read is this article from Jacobin about the ways that twenty-first century elites still show their dominance in remarkably Victorian ways (oh hey, organic food!).

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your weekend is full of books.

Movement and Roots

A few weeks ago, I packed up and moved. I almost added “again” to the end of that sentence, because there have been a lot of moves, a lot of movement.

How do you make routine, make meaning, stay grounded when everything changes every few weeks? How do you be when all is change, adjustment, movement? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself.

I am grateful to be grounded within a community. I may be moving around, but for now, I can still bake a pie for a friend in need in a borrowed kitchen. I can still be present to those around me, and somehow through that, be present to myself.

Perhaps unexpectedly, early mornings at the office, before others arrive, have become a place to reintegrate some of the practices of the last nine months. Quietly humming morning prayer, murmuring psalms (who would have thought that I’d willingly say morning prayer again after saying it at 6am every day in Boston?).

There’s also the sustenance of hope, of dreaming about the near future. There’s the excitement of having my own room again for an academic year, the planning of which plants will adorn my windowsill, the eagerness of recovering some of my clothes from storage.

For now, I’m in a time of movement, of change. But this transition has roots that are just beginning to reveal themselves. And for that, I am grateful.

Living in Community: Eucharist in the Difficult Times

I’ve had the odd experience this year of being able to answer the “what do you do” question with “Oh, I’m interning at a monastery”. Sometimes it comes off as a rather flippant answer–one of those I’m-doing-something-really-unusual/cool-and-I-know-it answers.

But after having lived this experience, 24/7, for the past nine months, I must confess that it isn’t really that unusual or glamorous most of the time. Most of the time, you’re just trying to work as best you can in community with others, with a little sleep and a lot of prayer. There are joyous times, and there are difficult times.

It’s an experience of living in close quarters with people who you would have never chosen to hang out with, or would have liked to know as friends, but not as roommates. But there’s something intimate about an experience of sharing prayer and worship in common that manages (despite everything) to unite us. It is a new experience of the Eucharist. Instead of just coming to church on Sunday to receive the sacrament, it is a sacrament that I receive every day… every minute of every day, in all of its glory, pain, transcendence. When I join the circle around the altar with my community, receiving the Eucharist becomes not just an individual act, but a common bond. I put out my hands to receive the bread, lift the chalice to my lips in a sub/conscious realization that despite everything, we are all here, sharing these gifts.

Perhaps this is something that you can relate too, perhaps not in the Eucharist, maybe not in a church or religious sense at all. The difficult times, broken by a moment of realizing the potential of what it all might be, might mean, how it might transcend the gritty dirt of day-to-day existence.

This passage from Hebridean Altars has helped me a lot this year, and I share it now with you:

“Seven times a day, as I work upon this hungry farm,
I say to Thee, ‘Lord, why am I here?
What is there here to stir my gifts to growth?
What great thing can I do for others–
I who am captive to this dreary toil?’

And seven times a day, Thou answerest,
‘I cannot do without thee.
Once did my son live thy life,
and did by His faithfulness did show
my mind, my kindness, and my truth to men.
But now He is come to my side,
and thou must take His place.'”

 

an update on new adventures

My chiropractor saw me wander in with a new book today, and casually asked me, “so, how many books do you read in a month?” I seesaw between boredom with reading options and personifying Belle, but apparently I’ve been doing a lot more of the latter lately.

Perhaps it’s fitting, as I just discovered a few weeks ago that I will be headed back to school in the fall. To seminary (trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are), dipping my toes into the realm of theology and the Church. You’ve probably seen it coming, with the amount of sermons I’ve posted here over the past year.

This blog won’t change all that much. It will still be reflection/musings-based, and once I acquire another DSLR, there will be more pictures of creative endeavors. I’ve been painting and baking a lot this year, and at some point, that will make it onto the blog. Overall though, I hope to keep this place as thoughtful and creative as possible.

I’ve updated my bio on the About page to reflect my current journey.

As always, do feel free to get in touch. If you’re a fellow blogger, I’d love to check out your corner of the internet, so head over to the contact page or leave a comment.

If you’re one of my long-time readers… thanks for being on this journey with me!