Where to begin

I haven’t been doing much if any blogging lately.  I’ve been too busy and mostly without words or the willingness to write anything down. Yesterday, Dara Maria graduated from State University of New York at Fredonia. I am so proud of her, she finished Summa Cum Laude.  She’s a very bright, classy young lady with a bright future and like her father, she’s an idealist.  I think being an idealist is important for teachers.  Ever since I returned from my southern trip last month I’ve been in a very introspective and contemplative mood. I’ve found a great deal to be excited about besides Dara too. I’ve been watching the NBA playoffs, reading blogs everyday, posting to Facebook and taking lots of digital images. Most of them have been with my Blackberry cameras, but still taking pictures and being as much alive as ever.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Thomas Merton and how his journey and mine are parallel though vastly different. A friends Facebook post led me to a Merton quote from “Rain and the Rhinoceros.”

The rain surrounded the whole cabin with its enormous virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of silence, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!  Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.”–Thomas Merton

I love to listen to the rain and we had some more of it last night. It was a perfect setting for contemplation. In fact I live on our enclosed porch. Nearly every waking hour I spend here except for when I’m at work or eating dinner with my wife. I spend my time in this hermitage that’s set apart from the rest of our home.

I’m going to listen

What is Lent? Today I got up at 5:30 am and headed for the gym. It was raining hard. As I ran I could hear the rain beating on the roof of the gymnasium and I was reminded of Thomas Merton who said,

It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.

So whenever it rains its a call to holiness for me. It’s an invitation to think of Merton and contemplation. The sound of rain is beautiful. Rain washes over us and over the land and I think it’s like grace, except that we can see it. God’s grace is all around us. It isn’t just on Ash Wednesday or during Lent. It isn’t just Sunday, but on Monday and Tuesday too.

We just have to look for it. I’m trying to look for it more.