We all carry pictures with us. If you are old enough you actually have real touchable pictures in your wallet or purse. Technology now allows us to carry thousands of pictures and hundreds of videos on our phones. We can access our personal life in images through the cloud and social media.
Images are powerful. Some make us laugh and jump for joy. I remember watching the first moon landing as a child in 1969 when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface and said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” My heart swelled with pride and joy. It was a human triumph that the world shared. There are other images that move us to tears. Most of us reading this will remember where we were when we got the news of what happened on September 11, 2001. I was on my way to the office and heard it on the news. That whole morning we watched that tragedy unfold on a small TV in my office. We lost nearly 3000 citizens that day. I see the images today and I am still moved in my core.
Pictures are a visual record of where we have been, who we were with, and what happened in that moment. Regardless where you store these images, they are also stored in your mind. You close your eyes and can recall images from the past; and not just the images, but the emotions and feeling linked to those images. We remember.
I can remember with detail my Father’s funeral, though there are no photos that I know of. He died when I was ten years old. I remember the movement that morning from home to church where we had a celebration of Holy Communion for family and close friends, to the funeral home and sitting there in the service. I remember the graveside and the full military honors.
The first few years after my dad’s death I could not even mention his name without tearing up (I fought to keep the tears in – what a mistake that was). Over time it got better. Not just time but faith and family made it so. I can go there in my mind now and see and feel those moments and it does not “hurt.” There is healing for us if we want it. Talk to someone, say a prayer and in doing so you can move forward.
Life is full of images. As you journey towards home recall with fondness those images that bless, that shape you that bring you comfort and peace. What do you see?
Deacon Martha Toney:
“Canterbury Retreat Center offers a beautiful sacred space where as Wayne Oates, a renowned pastoral counselor and psychiatrist, describes as a place where the soul can be nurtured and the ‘noisy’ heart can be quieted.
Oates warns us of the danger of losing perspective on life, especially those of us who minister to others on a daily basis. And ministry sometimes extends itself to all of us who are care-taking within our own families and friends. The need of sacred space is an act of responsibility to anticipate the stresses we face, and then taking necessary action to provide for ourselves the privacy we need for refreshment. No one else will or can do it for us.
Like Jesus, if we are to become all God envisions for us, and if we are always on the way to ‘becoming’ the person God would have us be, we must have the courage to free ourselves from the crowd, just as Jesus did in His own ministry. How good those words sound: ‘I am free.’ We can be free at Canterbury because, first, we know that God is with us all the time, and second in a practical way, at the Center we can be comforted by the fact that while we are totally alone, we are still close enough to a wonderful community who will be there for us should we for any reason need assistance. Canterbury Retreat Center provides a place where Whittier’s prayer may be answered:
Drop thy still dues of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.”
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