Saturday, November 20, 2010

Find me here

Dear readers,

I have made it safely to Nashville, and have just completed a successful first week at the new job! Phew!

I have decided to transition from my Contemplative in the City blog to a different blog from now on. I wanted to maintain the integrity of Contemplative in the City for what it is, chronicling my life in Washington, D.C.

Please follow my musings and adventures now at my blog, titled Intimations of Grace:

I am excited to begin a new chapter of life, and of blogging, and I hope you'll join me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Onward to Nashville!

I head out bright and early tomorrow to Nashville. For the next couple weeks I will be blogging rather sporadically since I won't have accessible home internet service. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this new chapter of my life. Thanks for sharing in my journey as a "Contemplative in the City" in Washington, D.C. See you in Nashville!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Words for today

"I will lead the blind on their journey ; by paths unknown I will guide them.
I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight.
These things I will do for them, and I will not forsake them."

~ Isaiah 42:16

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Be not afraid

I am afraid.

Two days, and I am moving 700 miles away.

I am afraid of moving to a strange place. I am afraid of being so far away from my family. I am afraid because I am leaving dear friends. I am afraid because this next step means embarking into the unknown alone. I am afraid of being alone. I am afraid of being lonely. I am afraid of the challenge of making new friends. I am afraid of what people will think of me, the new girl. I am afraid of the task of starting a new job.

Each time I have been about move on to something completely new in my life, I have been some combination of terrified, anticipatory, and uncertain all at the same time. It all adds up to a giant pit in my stomach. Right now, these feelings of fear and uncertainty consume me.

"Be not afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ."

I am clinging to these words of John Paul II - may they be my strength as I follow the Lord to where He has called me.

My favorite Washington D.C. city church -- St. Patrick's in Chinatown

Flickr/by taygete05

One of my favorite places in downtown D.C. has been St. Patrick's Cathedral, near the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area of the city. I love the architecture of the church, and the simple, peaceful interior, with it's soft white walls and saint icons above the altar. I always felt such a sense of serenity inside of this church -- the serenity of God's presence in the midst of the hustling, bustling city.

Fortunately, St. Patrick's Church was sort of on the way to work for me, so when I mustered up enough energy to make the early morning trek via bus and metro, I could attend Mass there before work. It was such a special morning ritual on the days I went to Mass there. I loved arriving at the church while it was still the blue dawn outside...much of the city still seemed to be asleep. Inside the walls of St. Patrick's I felt a unique ability to meditate on the scriptures in light of my upcoming work day. It was rejuvenating and encouraging to see the other downtown D.C. professionals that were regular Mass goers at St. Patrick's as well -- all coming to the fountain of grace to be spiritually fed before they embarked on their daily responsibilities.

After Mass ended, I loved opening the heavy wooden doors that immediately plop you out into the busy city blocks. Now, just 35 minutes later, the sun would be shining, the sidewalks crowded with people heading to work. I had received the Risen Lord, and now it was my unique task to talk Him into the world, in subtle and genuine ways, even just through a simple smile. I had faith that after receiving Him in the Eucharist, He would give me the opportunity to spread His light among; all of us who received the Eucharist during the work day, whether in the early morning, at noon-time, or during the after work commute, were walking tabernacles of His presence. What an honor and a gift.

Like many city churches, St. Patrick's is sandwiched between office buildings and whizzing traffic. Perhaps that's what I have loved most about St. Patricks. The way it is both an oasis of God's peace where one can take time away from the world; but at the same time, it is a witness to God's presence through which believers gain strength to bring God's love into the world.

Exactly where you are supposed to be

I wish I would have read this a long time describes everything that I sought to encompass in my Contemplative in the City life. An affirmation of the dignity and purpose of your unique work, exactly where you are:

"He [the worker] can comfort himself by the certainty that, if there is no sin in it, the work he must do is the work of God wants him to do, if not for ever, at least for today. If he is in this particular workroom or office it is because here it is that Christ wishes to be today. If he is among these particular people it is because to these particular people that Christ wants to give his love today. If he has this particular work to do, it is because Christ wants that particular work done in his way. Because these facts are true, it is a more glorious and a more apostolic thing for that boy to do that job, in the name and the power of Christ, than (imagining this to be possible) to convert the whole of Asia in his own name and power. To do the ordinary work of the world with Christ's integrity is to be about the Father's business." ~ Caryll Houselander

Happy workday, friends. Work in the confidence that you are doing His work, exactly where you are.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letting Love in

From Kelly Foster's gripping post on the Good Letters blog:

"There is nothing more difficult, there is nothing more risky in the whole of the world, than to believe in your bones that you are loved [by God]. To shoulder the weight of that is too much for most of us, and so we don’t. We evade. We duck and cover. We settle. We run and hide.

But I don’t want to do that anymore. And I am trying to learn how to open myself just a fraction to a kind of love—a love that transcends circumstance or condition—that I know has the power to demolish me.

There is an oft-quoted line of Blake’s that I’ve kept with me for years, “We are here to learn to endure the beams of love.”

And so enduring, the ground then shifts beneath us. For a second, the glory in those around us is revealed, the fire in our hearts becomes too much to bear, the beauty of the world is a drum that beats too loud. And staggered but humbled, we keep going. We pray to know Love Loving. And pray never to forget it again."