We are considering the modern dilemma of feeling “out of step” resulting in a need to “get back our rhythm.”
Two quotes from Dorothy Bass’s Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time give us a broadened idea of the rhythmicity that can be found in life.
“Happily, our home is a planet where the days begin to grow longer in the northern hemisphere just as Christmas arrives. Six months later, they start growing shorter again. Spring comes to every clime, however different it may appear in Norway, New Zealand, and Ecuador, and so does autumn. Human beings respond by elaborating on nature’s turnings: in every age and place, we develop seasonal rhythms of planting and reaping, of fasting and feasting, of letting go and starting afresh. These rhythms run through the days and the weeks, stitching them together until they come full circle over the course of a year.
“Within the rhythms that encircle a year lived in Christian faith, season also follows season. The natural tilts and turns of the northern hemisphere, where the Christian seasons of faith originated, set the stage: Easter follows the vernal equinox, Christmas the winter solstice. But the larger motions that govern these seasons belong to the story of God—a story in which nature is present but one that nature doesn’t write. Amazingly, even though this story began before time itself and reaches beyond the end of time, it is a story that has room in its narrative for each individual who encounters it in the present day. Within the Christian practice of living through the year, the gift of time becomes a means of entry into this story, a mysterious opening into participation in the life of God.
“Like the orbit whose span they measure, years are round. Each one begins at a certain point and arrives back at that pint before it can run its course once more. It forms a circle.”
For most of us, unreflectively rushing through the days of our lives, one season bumps into another. We have not developed a mechanism of living deeply, or living intentionally, in this most basic of life cycles, the yearly rhythm. “Is it spring already?” we ask. “It seems as though it was just Christmas a few days ago.” “Where has the time gone? We can’t be in another year already…? You mean summer’s almost over?” These are questions that become symptomatic of how out of rhythm, how detached from the moving circle of the year we have become.
Are you living each day as though they were beads strung aimlessly on an endless string, or do you see the returns and repetitions, the cycles and “circles” within the hours, the days, the weeks, the months and the years as a holy gift designed by God for some certain purpose, as rhythms that have sacred meaning?
How are you going to learn to live in the year as a circle in time? What must you do or change in your life so you will notice the days?
Other projects involving Karen Mains right now:
Karen and David have spent a great deal of time launching the Global Bag Project, which seeks to provide sustainable income for bag-makers in developing countries by selling their reusable artisan shopping bags in developed nations. This is the aim of the project: Through micro-finance, women are helped to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Every bag (and its bag-maker) has a story. The first such story is of Mary Nduta, a Christian woman from Nairobi, Kenya. If you would like to see Mary’s story, go to this YouTube link:www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcWFLbQ3u0M&NR=1
Karen, through her ministry of Hungry Souls, has opened the registration for the Annual 24-hour Retreat of Silence. The Wednesday-Thursday 24-hour cycle will be for women only; the Friday-Saturday cycle will be for men and women.
Here are the details:
In 2009, the first retreat will run from Wednesday, beginning with dinner, December 2 through Thursday, ending by 4:00 p.m., December 3. The second retreat will run from Friday, beginning with dinner, December 4 through Saturday, ending by 4:00 in the afternoon, December 5.
This will make room for those who work during the days and don’t feel as though they can take time off during the week.
Our fees will be $120 for a single room with private bath. However, if you register early, by October 15, your fee will be $100. If you bring someone who has NEVER attended a Hungry Souls Advent Retreat of Silence, the welcome fee for any new attendees (and for you) will be $90. (The weekend retreat costs us $5 more. Add that amount to the fees – $125, $105 or $95.) The cutoff date for registrations is November 25. Since we must give a firm number to the Bishop Lane Retreat Center in Rockford, IL and pay for that number, we cannot return payments after the cutoff date.
Valerie Bell, Karen Mains and Sybil Towner will lead these two silent retreats again this year. This Hungry Souls Retreat of Silence is a guided retreat. We begin silence at 9:00 the first evening. If you are interested, contact our volunteer registrar Melodee Cook at Cook2210@aol.com.
If you are outside of the Chicagoland area and would like to fly in for any of our Silent Retreats, our staff or volunteers will be happy to meet you at the airport and facilitate any sleeping arrangements that might need to be made for our silent retreats.