Last month when we went on retreat, our presenter, Lynn Levo, CSJ, spent a great deal of time on the topic of intimacy: intimacy with self, intimacy with others, and more. It broadened my perspective on what intimacy is: opening myself up fully. But there are so many ways to do that; we can be intimate in more ways than just the first one that comes to most minds. There is intellectual, crisis, spiritual, communicative, creative, and aesthetic intimacy, among others.
I had heard the word broken down before. Intimacy: in-to-me-see. Lynn's presentation gave me an opportunity to reflect on what that really looks like in the daily, where Benedict reminds us we live as spiritual beings - in the nitty gritty of the day.
Something with which I have struggled here is that I find it difficult to articulate what makes my days so darn special and wonderful right now. Yes, I witness and partake in beautiful prayer and liturgies. Yes, I am so well supported on the journey. Yes, I have opportunities to pray in new ways. Yes, I am meeting some incredible people. Yes, I am doing meaningful work. Yes, I live across the street from a big body of water. Yes, all of these things would naturally fill my Spirit, but, yet, they fail to adequately capture what fills me right now.
Then, on Saturday evening, after the ceremony we had for our oblates, old and new, something (or things) happened. I shared a very touching conversation with a sister at dinner. Another sister asked me sincerely how I am doing. I helped a sister with a small task. One sister asked how I enjoyed the day. Another sister made sure I was ready to play the role of Bartimaeus during Sunday's liturgy and offered me quiet space if I ever need it. I hugged another sister, or two, or three, as we said good night.
Then, as I was walking back into the monastery, it finally came to me: what makes my days so darn special and wonderful right now is that they are filled to the brim with intimate moments. I am sharing so many moments of mutual care and love with my sisters. As my own monastic call to conversion occurs within this context of reverential relationships, I can only sing praise and gratitude to God.
We can develop a beautiful intimacy with each other when we recognize the importance of reverencing relationship. God, guide each of us to this level of intimacy with one another. How could we keep from singing?
Let us walk in the holy presence.