Day One: Clear Creek Monastery

“But I am a worm and not a man.” — Psalm 22:6a

“Poser!” — my heart

After watching the Brothers and their praying, those were my first two initial thoughts about myself. Perhaps a bit harsh. Maybe a little truth.

I arrived at the Clear Creek Monastery today around 3 p.m. was greeted by a very kind, very soft spoken Brother. He helped me with my bags (more books than clothes), showed me the basic layout, and then was off to attend other monk duties.

I say ‘monk’, because these fellas are the real deal. Most shocking aspect so far… most of them are very young. I had really expected there to be about eight older men, mostly hunched over. Wrong. There are fifty-four professed monks who spend their lives living, working, and mostly praying in this one place. The simplicity is desirable… I’ll keep you posted on that as I spend more time here. My soul says, “I want to do this!” But my mind says, “Hang on there fat boy.” I have a small home and I like it, but I would imagine that the monks ‘cells’ make my room here look like a mansion. Very sparse, but everything you need. When you are expected to spend your life in prayer, you don’t need much.

Of prayer: I’ve attended Vespers and Compline. The service is entirely sung and is all in Latin, so I just listen. Not a bad thing. It is exactly what you think it would sound like.

Just prior to supper, I was introduced to the Abbot. He washed my hands… yeah. Nothing to add…

Alright, it is 9:33 p.m. and you all are probably just getting started with your evening, but I’m off to bed. The day around here starts pretty early. The first service tomorrow is at 5:15 a.m. I keep looking at the schedule to see when we get nap time, but it doesn’t appear they have plans for that. I’m guessing I’ll work it out.

There is no WiFi and I’ve got one bar on my phone. It may take all night for this to upload…

The Lord bless you all and keep looking for miracles.

Death of the Moon

Photo by Drew Tilk on Unsplash

The sun set

and the moon refused to rise

The sun demanded

and the moon fled

The sun followed

a radiant rage

The moon turned her back

Ah, she said,

my dark side is where I will hide

The more she hid

the more she revealed

Never have I seen this side

cried the sun

Never have you looked

Never have you asked

Never have you touched

Oh, to touch, whispered the sun

to burn

always to burn

I’ll warm you

The moon paused




Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Not one… no, not one

Take your pound from my flesh

Split the cord and drink the rest

Raise your finger in the heart of my soul

Last one out

dies without breath

Only one

Only One

Perchance to…

That’s not an acceptable answer

So we sleep a bit more

Ravaging the spaces

Between this life



In Her Pocket…

I know a man who was walking down an old country road looking for his Mother. He searched up and down the road not seeing Her, but then, off in the distance, in the opposite direction he had been traveling he sees Her. The man tells me…

I began to run toward her as She began to run toward me. She was so much faster and as we approached, I realized She was so much larger. When She was with me, She had become so much larger that she simply scooped me up in the palm of Her hand and…

He was laughing as he told me this and I couldn’t help but join in his joy.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

…she placed me in the pocket of Her dress. She was not angry that I had wandered off, but neither did She speak. She only continued Her walk down the road.

From inside Her pocket, I tried to see through the weave of the fabric as to where we were going, but could not make out any details. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. Eventually, I settled back and was simply comforted to be safe in Her pocket. Then a series of changes began to occur…

I soon realized that where She had placed me was not in Her pocket, but instead, was the wound in His side. She had placed me into Her Son. I entered more deeply and heard so clearly the beating of His heart. I rested there. Such peace. I actually began to wonder if I had been here when the spear had pierced His side… and then it did! As though a second time, but as it retreated, the wound was healed. The Son spoke, “You have always been with me.” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. We were made in Him.

We have always been with Him. We have always been in Him and He in us. He showed me how, as we travelled further back, to when he was a child. And further to when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. I entered more deeply into Him, until I was clinging to His Heart. His heartbeat was mine. I would die should His heartbeat stop.

He took me even further back — and this happened so quickly — to when He was Light… and then it all abruptly stopped, and in a great reversal of those scenes, I was returned to the road.

“Oh, to have gone further into that Light!” He said this with such deep longing.

I had so many questions for this man, but not enough words to ask them. So when he had finished his story, I came back to the spear. “We were in Him when the spear pierced His side?” I asked, trying to more fully understand. “Yes! As I said, while clinging to his heart, I realized that I would die should he die. And that’s just it. He died and I died with Him. And His Mother took me out of her pocket, and I was alive again to continue to walk the road until its end.

“Where does that road lead?”

“The Light.”

Louise at Sixteen

I’m always early. Always have been. Not entirely sure why, but it comes with a couple of perks, especially when traveling through airports. The best seat at the gate, no rushing about, and an outlet should you need to charge a phone. It also gives you the opportunity to watch everyone else running about.

Today, I watched folks jockeying for positions in lines so that they could get through security faster, chatting up airline desk attendants attempting to score an upgrade, and the occasional grouch, who no matter the situation, is going to find that one thing. And then there was… well, I don’t know her name, but she looked like a Louise, so Louise it is.

Louise was at least seventy, she appeared to have difficulties with balance–her gait was almost a stumble at every step–hair gray, and a bit overweight, but who am I to talk about that one. I watched Louise and I watched all the other travelers around me. What struck me about Louise is that, unlike everyone else, Louise wasn’t catching a flight this morning. Louise was cleaning. Going behind all of us, wiping up our spills, picking up our trash, wiping our fingerprints off the windows, mopping floors that we had tracked up, etc. As I watched her, I wondered if anybody else actually saw her (the fact that I did does not make me special, it was just me doing the people watching thing). What I wondered about Louise: I wondered what she was like at sixteen.

I saw a young girl in a pastel dress, with white socks (a bit of lace around the top), and shiny black shoes. I saw a girl trying to be a woman with her hair pulled back, a bit of color on her cheeks, and a smile to break the boys’ hearts. I saw a future unfolding and then I wondered again: when she was sixteen, did she see herself at seventy cleaning up after me as I passed through some random airport? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a custodial job. Had one myself for three years before going off to seminary. It is honest “clean” work, but I just wondered about Louise at sixteen. Is this how she saw life working out for her? I doubt it. Would she like to be boarding one of the hundreds of planes she sees departing everyday? Taking some exotic trip? Getting away from it all if for only a few days? I’m certain of it.

I saw a young girl in a pastel dress. She pushed her cleaning cart through an “Employees Only” door and disappeared. That young girl disappeared. I wonder if she thinks the same thing.