Well it looks like summers finally arrived (even if only briefly according the the forecasts) and is was lovely to spend a good portion of my day today on the plot – and it needed it! The recent wet weather had made everything grow and especially the weeds, so despite the heat it was a case of being down on my knees pulling up weeds of all different varieties. Weeding is one of those gardening tasks of course that never seems to end, it’s a bit like painting the proverbial Forth Bridge,but staying on top of them is important to allow growing and breathing space to the plants as a gardener you want to do well – and there was no shortage of those as well today. From the bright and colourful Nasturtiums, to the harvesting of 4llbs of Broad Beans, the reward of tasting lovely wild strawberries, and cutting some chives for tonights tea, this years harvest is well underway – and all because of that space to grow and the nurturing that goes with it.
It being so hot and sunny it was also good to just take some time out from the work and relax and reflect – friends and regular followers of this blog will probably know about my interest in re-discovering “monastic rhythms” and exploring ideas of “new monasticism” for me the plot is as much a part of the monastery garden (alongside Quiet Garden at the Cross at Yew Lane) and as such it is about providing a space where we can be nurtured and grow just like the plants around us. And so it was that I found myself sitting and reading “Cave, Refectory, Road” by Ian Adams late into an the afternoon.
Adams identifies three spaces key to a “spiritual” life;
- the Cave. This is that place of quiet, often solitary – where we take that essential time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, with all its joys and sorrows, its burdens and its rewards, this is the place that we rest, this is the place we try to draw close to the “more” that we sense almost instinctively that we know there is to life – we may each call that “more” something different, for me the “more”is God as shown to us by Jesus.
- the Refectory. Here we meet with others in community, our friends our family our neighbours – this is where we share hospitality, it is the place that gives us our stability.
- the Road. The road calls us to live our lives shaped by our contact with others, to become public over private.
…. and so I sit, now showered and home from the plot, to spend more time in solitary reflection and, strangely, I find my mind turning to a scene in Christopher Nolans “Batman Begins”. It’s the scene where Bruce Wayne having returned from a time of personal challenge decides to confront his fear of bats, he does this by venturing into the cave of his boyhood terrors and standing as the bats fly around him – gradually as his fear is overcome – the cave that in the past held only fear and terror, has become not simply a refuge but the place of growth and power. Caves it would seem are not always dark and damp, nor are they simply places to fear, they can be places lit up with insight, where fears and worries can be overcome, and where new insights can be gained. ….. And so back to the cave!
“The journey to knowing God must include the discipline of coming to know yourself, and that risky journey invariably starts in silence” Ian Adams “Cave, Refectory, Road”