One sure sign of summer’s warmer weather is the increase of activity along Wayne Street outside Trinity. People walking for exercise, leading dogs on leashes, heading to a business or other destination: it’s a bustling place. Occasionally I get to take my lunch break out in the Cloister Garden. I enjoy it, partly because I feel like I can observe without being observed----eavesdrop on conversations as friends walk by, listen to the radio music enjoyed by the crews working on our Chapel, spot the local legends like the skateboarding trombone player (yes, I have seen him!).
The garden offers a serenity that is hard to match other places. Thanks to Sue Foreman, it is lush and lovely, with different scents wafting on the breeze. The soaring steeple and statue of St. Francis add religious iconography to remind me I’m at a church. It’s a rare opportunity to be present, unplugged and ‘in the moment.’
My professional background started in journalism (television news, to be precise), where daily deadlines ruled my schedule. Newsrooms are noisy places and there is very little ‘down’ time. I am still a bit of an adrenaline junkie, at least in terms of mental aerobics. I have a hard time sitting with a quiet mind. I want to know what other people are doing, what they are saying, whom they are seeing. Our workdays around here are fairly busy: there is never “nothing” to do. But sometimes that cacophony of “other people’s voices” gets awfully loud. I can sometimes focus on the noise instead of what we’re trying to do.
If your only experience with “church” is that it is quiet, and peaceful--- well, you aren’t here during most weekdays! It’s a vibrant, energetic place of ideas and collaboration and shared approaches to addressing challenges and solving problems. I bet your day is a lot like mine: people needing your attention, phone calls, e-mails, texts, assignments, deadlines…. There is never a lack of need, so the rare opportunity to sneak out into the sunshine and breathe in the peace of the garden is a real day-changing, mind-altering experience. I commend the invitation to you: if it fits your schedule one day this summer, bring a sack lunch and come sit in the garden. Breathe. Listen.
That still, small voice you hear there just may be your own.