The first day of autumn… Conyers, Georgia
Today is the first day of a new season.
Today, I experienced the gift of tasting these first autumn shades in Conyers, Ga, where I spent the majority of the day retreating and being — and on the grounds of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.
It was my first visit to this haven after many months of my dear friend Judy speaking to its beauty, its reverence, its presence. Now I know for myself that it is indeed a place of simple, authentic beauty, and also of contemplation, quiet, and rest.
My time was spent exploring, wandering, watching hawks circle amid a bright blue sky, resting in the monastery and sharing midday prayers with the monks, and lying on my blanket ‘neath a giant chestnut tree as the sun danced among the canopy of branches above me. That was where I felt most “home” – as a beloved child of God. Here, I felt the tree’s arms like God’s very own, stretching down to hold me, while the sun playfully and lovingly provided both shade and light – safety and warmth. While I laid there — a human being in all my smallness — in all my vulnerability and in all my frailty — among scattered broken bits of chestnuts — I felt whole — wholly loved.
The simple identity I finally felt ring true was being God’s beloved child. In the midst of all the various identities we and our society construct for ourselves, shouldn’t this one be the only one that matters — the one that we treasure most of all?
This moment also brought to mind a verse our wonderful “Rev” spoke about during yesterday’s chapel service at school:
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1
And so on this new birth of autumn, I hope to transfer the monastery’s quiet space to rest in this current reality.
Close your eyes. Listen to the breath that God gave you. Feel the rhythms of the heart he so intricately crafted.
Children of God.
“That is what we are!”