I struck out cross-country on a beeline to the nearest facilities. It was a pleasant walk but much of my attention was taken up with picking my way through the washed out gullies, around downed trees and, especially avoiding the ubiquitous poison ivy. In a few minutes I came upon a bike trail which I knew went close to the restrooms and I started down it.
I thought to myself, “It sure is a lot easier walking on the trail rather than bushwhacking”. As I thought on this the Spirit revealed that this was an analogy of my life for the past few years. I’ve been on a passionate quest to draw closer to God and I feel like I’ve made progress but it’s been like bushwhacking cross-country. Sometimes I’m just whistling along, walking in the sunshine, enjoying God’s creation and then bam, there’s a gully, a downed tree, sometimes even a big gator-infested swamp. My relationship skids to a crawl as I work through or around the obstacles.
A couple of years ago as I was dealing with some of my spiritual obstacles I began reading about some of the early Christians and how they lived out their faith. I was particularly drawn to the Celtic Christians and other early monastic people. After months and months of spiritual bushwhacking I had stumbled upon a clear, well-marked path. God had led some of my early Christian brothers and sisters in the same direction I was headed and had used them to blaze a trail for me and others to follow.
So thus began my adventure of incorporating into my everyday life the monkish values of:
- Solitude and silence
- Faith and compassion
- Friendship and mentoring
- Contemplation and leadership
What are your thoughts on this new monasticism?