Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quotidian Mystic: Sacred Time

continuing the discussion with Jenna and Mr. Pond

"Abba Poeman said concerning Abba Pior that everyday he made a new beginning."
    ~monastic saying

Early mornings are my favorite. When I’ve slept well, I like to be up before the sun, before my husband, before my daughter. I like to put the water on for coffee and the oatmeal on the stove, light a lamp, and write. In the daylight, writing is hard. I see the work around me - floors to sweep, dishes to wash and I am pulled away into the tasks of the day; predawn I see nothing but my work, and Our Lady under her glittering scarf, watching her candle while her Child prepares to suffer. These dark morning times of silence give the hours that follow a sacred taste.  Surrounding myself with true silence in the early hours, I am better able to carry with me an interior cloister in the busyness of the day - a reminder that all these mundane tasks - repeated again and again - weave around me the sacredness of time given in love.

When the silent morning is lost for some reason - when I can’t wake up or when Yashynka wakes with me full of need, I have to push to create the inner cloister, to walk in the quotidian with reverence. To see my sacred time in the ritual of cleaning, cooking, keeping the fire, and loving. Perhaps the afternoon will bring me my silence, and my ritual can live in hot tea and shortbread while Yarrow naps and clouds gather above. Perhaps, though, I will have to wait until the night comes, and write while my husband reads or sleeps, with a cup of vodka and the coyotes making my silence shudder from time to time. Perhaps there will be no outer silence and my sacred time will be simply the joy of a basket of eggs, a new-made bed, or my husband’s guitar in the soft-lit night.

As Jenna writes, sacred time for artists, for housewives, for each of us, involves an attempt to make each hour holy, and like her, my hours often fall short. I'm continually reminding myself that the sacred is often found in the mistakes and imperfections that make the hours our own. And, like Kathleen Norris, I often forget when faced with dirty dishes or muddy floors that "God is inviting me to play" with my time.  This Advent our discussions explore sacred time: solemn and playful; as we count the days till the Nativity.


  1. Beautiful. I love the idea of "time given in love" and the "God is inviting me to play". And I think your rituals are lovely. Writing specifically about silence and ritual should be fun. :D

  2. Thanks! I took the "God inviting me to play" almost directly out of Kathleen Norris, because it really affected how I viewed housekeeping. This is a fantastic topic!