I’ve decided to read the gospel of Mark, a few verses each day, using the practice of Lectio Divina. That means I read a few verses out loud, slowly, two times and notice what words or phrases catch my attention or stand out in some way. I read the passage one more time to contemplate the words or phrase that stood out to me. Often what I “notice” is an idea that in some way links to something I’ve already been reading in another place or a circumstance I’ve been mulling over. Sometimes the words are ones that are very familiar but take on new significance.
One of my readings last week was Mark 1: 12 – 20. After Jesus’ public baptism by John the Baptiser, the story goes on to say that “the spirit immediately drove [Jesus} out into the wilderness…” That wasn’t necessarily something I hadn’t noticed before, however, the connection between being in the “public eye,” so to speak, and then retreating fit with my own experience right now.
I’ve had family staying for a time and I’ve depended on even a brief respite that reading and pondering provide. I struggle with the effort it takes for me to have people visit; yet, I want it to not be so. When visitors are sound asleep in the guest room, I am awake in my bed, as even daily tasks get co-opted into dilemmas. On the morning that I read these verses from Mark’s gospel, I knew that I, too, need time “inside” myself to be able to go outside—to get a different perspective than what the distorted night time brings when my small self looms large.
Almost every day, I do some kind of reading as meditation. I use scripture and/or other writings by regular people whose names you might know too. Almost every day, I write to become aware of my life with God and in my everyday world. For many years, my notebooks have also and continue to function as a “commonplace book” where I record quotes from scripture, all kinds of books or articles, and even quotes from movies or songs. I weave other peoples’ words with my own words and experience. When I don’t do that, it shows, inside and outside.
So, I guess I’m wondering why I was surprised that what caught my attention reading the first chapter of Mark was that Jesus needed that time, too. It sure makes me feel more understood.
Then I read a passage from Richard Wagamese’s book of meditations, Embers.
Home is a feeling in the centre of my chest of rightness, balance and harmony of the mind, body and spirit. Home is where the channel to Creator and the Grandmothers gets opened every day and where life gains its focal point. …in that is the sure and quiet knowledge that home is within me and always was.
That is what my time alone, spent in the knowledge that God is my dwelling place, brings. Especially after a restless night or anxious response to whatever is going on outside, the time inside brings rightness, balance, and harmony of mind, body, and spirit. It is where I open a channel to my Creator and friend, in the presence of other people who have and continue to surround me. That is my home.