The Holy Days of All Saints and All Souls usher us into the final chapters of our calendar year, even as we approach the birth of a new liturgical year at Christmas. This season is ripe with images that speak from the soul – honoring the dead gives way to an abundant table, gathered family and family of choice, the quiet of night and a star in the dark sky, a ring of glowing candles, a birth.
Worldly distractions can draw our attention to surface concerns; we cling to those things which pass away. Soul alone endures. By shifting our gaze, it becomes possible to see through the surface things to Soul reverberating in the interior of all things.
My favorite Thanksgiving memory, viewed on the surface, was a disaster: a power outage from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday left the turkey frozen outside on the porch and all the prepared side dishes chilled in the refrigerator. The Rockwellian image of anticipatory faces around an abundantly laid table was not to be.
Instead, extended family gathered around the wood-burning stove in the living room. We heated one dish at a time atop the stove, waiting – there was no microwaved immediacy. Slowly, slowly, in turn we enjoyed stuffing…brussels sprouts…mashed potatoes and gravy…green bean casserole…pies. The feast stretched out for hours as we talked and laughed, telling stories, and going deeper than was usually allowed by the “traditional” timing of the Thanksgiving meal we’d become accustomed to. In silent pauses the fire crackled and dishes hissed and sizzled as they warmed. No football game or movie pulled our attention away; we were stuck in the blessed present, with time to allow the soul of the moment to emerge.
We had the opportunity to reflect on our abundance, what we had rather than focusing on what was missing. Gratitude for what was overwhelmed attachment to a failed perfectionistic ideal. Sometimes the disruptions that break through our usual way are the very gift that allows us to recognize Soul imbedded in the ordinary, concrete, surface experiences of our lives.
As we gather around the table and the fire in these final weeks of 2021, let us welcome unexpected disappointments, with an eye toward discovering the Soul they may reveal.
Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center is pleased to announce that Jennifer Schimmel has been named executive director by the Board of Trustees.
Posted on 5/10/2022
Sometimes, a calling begins with inner restlessness. A disquiet or tension, perhaps even an irritation. In the ups and downs of the day-to-day, it is easy to chalk these up to the ordinary trials and tribulations of daily life. Certainly, growing in maturity requires cultivating the ability to hold fast during turbulent times, not jumping ship at every inconvenience or upset.
Posted on 9/23/2021
A while ago, Genesis received the gift of a canvas labyrinth along with a number of boxes of accessories, some easels and posters. Due to its size, the labyrinth will only fit in the Providence Room and time passed as we waited for the room to be available so we could unfold the labyrinth and walk it. In the meanwhile, Nick and Wayne stored the labyrinth, boxes and posters upstairs in a Carriage House closet. Weeks passed, then months. Years.
Posted on 8/10/2021
These past weeks I’ve had occasion to cover Genesis’ kitchen so our beloved Chef Jen could have a couple of days off. I delighted in harvesting tart cherries from the tree behind the Carriage House and incorporating them into Rainbow Chard, bacon and cherry pizzas, Chilled Persian Soup, and cooking them down for a sauce over vanilla ice cream.
Posted on 7/14/2021
Posted on 2021-06-10
Reflecting on the spirituality of Providence
Posted on 5/7/2021
Posted on 5/18/2021