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ameditationspaceWe inhabitants of the Northeast United States spent November and December in a mixture of gratitude for warm days and apprehension for a time when the winter would appear with a vengeance. Global warning had seemed to favor us with record high temperatures while predicting a serious plummeting to follow. Well, now it’s January and the other side of the coin has shown itself. The lovely “valley of opportunity” where I live has been spared the 21 inches of snow that fell just 80 miles to our north but frigid temperatures and high winds have forced caution in travel and consideration of cancellation¬†of events. In the frustration of the uncertainty resulting from the weather’s control of my schedule, I am reminded of Thomas Merton’s advice for daily living – perfect as I face the second half of this week.

There should be at least a room, or some corner where no one will find you and disturb you or notice you. You should be able to untether yourself from the world and set yourself free, loosing all the fine strings and strands of tension that bind you, by sight, by sound, by thought, to the presence of other men. “But thou, when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret…” Once you have found such a place, be content with it and do not be disturbed if a good reason takes you out of it. Love it, and return to it as soon as you can, and do not be quick to change it for another…Let there be a place somewhere in which you can breathe naturally, quietly, and not have to take your breath in continuous short gasps. A place where your mind can be idle, and forget its concerns, descend into silence, and worship the Father in secret.

When I am too busy to remember the necessary balance of activity and rest, I bless the “God of the seasons” for an opportunity to surrender and find peace in the gift of winter time.