I am spending 3 days and 3 nights at Christ in the Desert Monastery in New Mexico. My focus is renewal, writing, quiet and solitude.
I walked down to the river to pray and take photos, and hopefully to get inspired. There is a stump perfectly situated near the bank of the river. I sat down seeking inspiration to write. I,soon was,totally taken in by the beauty of this place and by the play of the light on the rocks and trees. I got out my camera and started taking photos. The light was magnificent. And the perfect shot was just down on the muddy bank. Gingerly, I tried to get closer and down I went into the mud. My Keens were covered and the more I tried to move the slipperier it got. I got back to my room a mess.
I made my way up to the chapel for afternoon prayers. I looked for the most secluded spot and found it on the last row right hand side. Nobody in the row in front of me and no one else in the row I was in. Perfect!
As the chanting began and I was settling in to the peace of the moment, the doors opened and a van full of senior citizens came clomping in. They filled every available seat including those in front of and beside me. Breathe, Kim, Breathe, I told myself. Sink into the music and focus on the prayers. I took a deep,breathe and started to,settle,in when the woman next to me took out her phone…I guess she missed the sign that said no cell phones. I assumed she was just trying to turn off her ringer. Nope! With every button she pushed the phone made a little popping sound. She went from screen to screen. Pop! Pop! POP!!! Then she opened her camera app and started taking pictures, of the altar, of the monks, of the Church! Did she also miss the sign that said no photography during services and no photography of the monks without their permission. Finally, with a few more pops! She put her phone away. A few more deep breathes. You can do this, Kim, you can sink in even in the midst of distractions. This is an opportunity to,develop you skills of centering even in the midst of life going on around you. Okay, okay. I got this. I take another deep breathe and all of a sudden 5 very LOUD farts let loose from the woman in front of me.. Yes, 5! I counted them. I gave up on going deep and instead gave in to the life around me. With a big chuckle, God reminded me to Be Here in this place with these people. Don’t take it so seriously. Just Be Here.