The weekend just ended brought both old friends and new faces to our tiny “island of grace” (the way I see our small retreat center these days). The privilege of preparing meals for them allowed me observation time of their interactions with one another and the alternation of their movements to and from the conference room – so often peppered with “thank you” or smiles of appreciation for every little thing. I cannot help feeling judgments about people melt from me as I observe the gifts that diversity brings to a retreat where everyone is desirous of spiritual growth. The ways that people dress or speak or choose their food are all overshadowed by the blinding light of their intention toward unity with the Divine (however they perceive the One I call God).
I was prompted to this realization this morning by Rainer Maria Rilke’s thought, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy in a book entitled Rilke’s Book of Hours. I wasn’t looking for anything special as I pulled the book from my side table but here is what I saw upon opening to page 177.
You are the future, the red sky before sunrise over the fields of time. You are the cock’s crow when night is done, you are the dew and the bells of matins, maiden, stranger, mother, death. You create yourself in ever-changing shapes that rise from the stuff of our days – unsung, unmourned, undescribed, like a forest we never knew. You are the deep innerness of all things, the last word that can never be spoken. To each of us you reveal yourself differently: to the ship as coastline, to the shore as a ship.