What do you see?

 



I took this quick picture of our kitchen island the other day. I think it was the morning after my 9 year-olds had their first sleep-over. But, really, the picture might be much the same on any given morning or afternoon. This countertop is a magnet for clutter. I don't have to look at it for long before I feel a rising tide of stress and overwhelm.

I see wet swim towels and pancake batter going bad.

I see my oldest son's dirty shirt, dishes to be washed, and papers that defy categorization. 

I see the lemons we keep forgetting to turn into lemonade; I see a hundred places for the flies who pass through our broken screens to land. 

This is what I see and all of it is true. 

But if I take a deep breath and widen my lens, I also see flowers from a friend (the product of my daughter's first ever summer job). I see silly notes exchanged between my husband and son. I see heaps of fresh produce and a home that's lived in. I see food for our mouths and evidence of friends (for our souls) and the fulness of life lived in the here and now. 

This is what I see and all of it is true. 

The clutter is real, as well as the stress I feel in trying to tame it. The presence and abundance are real too. Both. There is light and darkness here on this kitchen island - blessing and curse, abundance and scarcity. 

I don't seek to pretend one isn't real and cling to the other. I'm not after some pollyanna point-of-view. I'm hoping instead to practice, now and again, the art of widening my lens. 

What more is there to be seen? What's there but not apparent at first glance? How does a wider lens allow a more deeply grounded sense of reality?   

Quiet Days

 

Words can satisfy your mind, but silence satisfies your soul. - Nitin Namdeo

Join Spiritual Director, Kelly Chripczuk, for one, two, or all three Quiet Days this fall. These retreats are designed to be low-program and offer ample time and space to dwell in the depths. Whether you need rest, time in nature or space to journal and pray, Quiet Days offer a container for you to come as you are - even, and perhaps especially, if you don't know what you need. 

Sample Schedule (subject to change):

9:00 Arrive and Settle In (beverages and snacks available)
9:30 Welcome and Centering Prayer or Lectio Divina
10:00 Open Retreat Time
12:00 Lunch (BYO, lunch may be taken in community or in silence depending on your preference)
1:00 Open Retreat Time
3:00 Closing Graces
3:30 Departure

When: Fridays September 3, October 1, and November 5

Time: 9:30 - 3:30

Location: Still Waters Retreat, Carlisle, PA

Cost: $40 for one day, $100 if you register for all 3 days (please contact Kelly if cost is a barrier)

8 Spaces Available

Registration deadline: Monday, the week of the retreat

* Special Notes *

Quiet Days emphasize time for silence and solitude and will be held in a contemplative atmosphere. Though you will hopefully see and meet some new faces, the primary aim of the day is to offer time to connect to yourself and listen for the voice of the Divine. If you're looking for conversation or intellectual stimulation, these days won't be a good fit for you. 

ALL are welcome to these days, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Contact me at Chripczuk.kelly@gmail.com with questions. 

Register using the secure Paypal link or email me to inquire about other forms of payment.

Choose One

Summer Grace (a collaborative poem)

 


Summer Grace 

is a handful of blueberries 
dropped from the bush to your hand. 
(Some things are given, not 
grasped.) 

is a few days’ reprieve 
from sweltering heat. 
In coolness, freedom 
and possibility blossom. 

is the tireless robin 
who arrives again and again 
with worms for hungry chicks. 
Her energy, like God’s, unfailing. 

is an early morning 
filled with birdsong – 
the sweet natural rhythm 
of living things calms chaos, 
quiets the spirit. 

is a neighbor 
reaching across the divide 
to offer support, 
an incarnation 
of love divine. 

is a grown child 
turned handyman, 
is a surprise reunion, 
and elderberries 
growing and yielding 
fruit where no one planted. 

is offering space – 
is having space to offer – 
to a group in need, is 
a barn filled with food, 
a welcome harvest for hungry souls.

- a This Contemplative Life Community composition

I've started a small private community over on fb, connected to my business page. It's a slow space where participants are invited to take a "long, loving look at the real." Visit the link above to lean more and asked to be connected. The poem above grew out of members' responses to a question on this page: Where are you finding grace this summer?