Peter, Kirk, and I are driving south through New York State towards Mount Saviour Monastery, where this weekend Peter will become a full blown Lay Benedictine Oblate. Kirk and I have come along to witness this transition in Peters life as cymbrogi, what the celts call soul companions.
I’m quiet. I’m tired to begin with, but also peaceful. There is a companionable silence among us. Friends who don’t need lots of words to fill the space between them. Plus the autumn sun still has some warmth in it, and it’s shining on my cheek. Finally, I begin to tell Peter a story about my time on pilgrimage.
Do you know the nicest compliment I’ve received in recent years? It was from a young man I met in the UK. When our team visited his prayer community, we felt a strong connection with him. Near the end of our visit, he said to me, “you remind me of a mother figure in my life. You have the same pace of life she does.”
“And what pace of life is that?” I was bemused.
“She lives a fast life slowly.”
She lives a fast life slowly.
Years ago, those closest to me and in a position to lovingly speak truth into my life, would not have said that about me. The most common word used to describe me was “driven”, if they were honest (Thank God for honest friends who don’t flatter you!). I’m a first born, typical achiever type of personality.
More recently, the word my new friends use to describe me is “peaceful”. Maybe it’s simply because I am ageing. Maybe it’s because twelve years in a lifestyle radically reordered towards prayer and His Presence has shifted things on the inside.
I notice it in Peter too. The last few years as he has built what he calls “cantio Divina”, a contemplative singing of the psalms, and contemplative prayer into his daily rhythms, he has become more rooted and grounded somehow.
Our lives are still full with many responsibilities, but something, more likely Someone, is reordering our inward worlds.
Empowering us to live fast lives slowly.
Here’s a pic of a car license plate we saw at the border. It says ‘O Kneel!’. And here are the three of us messing around with one of the lovely sculptures at the monastery.