Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Beloved Disciple

This was my first icon. I asked a friend in Athens to write it for me. He was an ex-Athonite monk with a twinkling smile and hands that looked like they had pulled on the mooring ropes of the Noah's Ark. The Icon is on carved wood with a thin layer of plaster and is about 18" by 14". It hangs in the center of my meditation wall and is an icon of great comfort and power for me. I use it when I am feeling frightened or sad or both, because the image of Jesus with John The Evangelist is one of welcome and comfort and intimacy.

In his new book on Goodness, Desmond Tutu makes the case for a balanced life in which there is a regular re-collection so that wrongs are caught early, before they become big and unwieldy like a huge kudzu-covered life. Tutu says that with daily prayer and "deep rest" we have the ability to see when we are making decisions which hurt us or others. He argues the same argument of Martin Luther King - that we are on a long, wide arc towards goodness and that to get there we must be very careful to make good choices often.

After two years of working hard to keep the effects of a national recession from debilitating the diocese we have been successful. Only 43% of non-profit organizations in the US have been saved from drops in their contributions and The Diocese of New Hampshire is, I am pleased to say, one of those. But I am now very tired and will take nine days to sit at Blackwater Bluff to rest - my first rest since November.

I do not plan to do much. I will garden and thin trees. Hike and swim the Blackwater river with Kai. I will make pottery and pickles and some good meals for friends. And I will sit with this image, glad to be in relationship with a God who would become human and then welcome me to lay my head on his chest.

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