I've been catching snippets of the wonderful documentary, Into Great Silence, which chronicles the daily life inside a Carthusian monastery, the Grand Chartreuse. The dramatic backdrop of the French Alps is a stunning canvas for the artistry of the monks' beautifully simple devotional life. The ordinary becomes sacred as each monk lives out his day in silence and obedience to God.
I had already planned on buying the two-disc film. I'm looking forward to finally owning the complete version. My expectations of what this documentary would show, were met and exceeded, leaving me completely humbled and captivated at the same time. What I've taken from it is the great importance of living in the moment and being grateful to God for that moment. So many times, we live life at breakneck speed, always thinking of "the next." We live in the future so much that we don't fully appreciate the present. We often don't take enough time to sit and reflect, or kneel and pray.
I think this is why I loved "The Simple Woman's Daybook idea. It gave women an opportunity to just sit and reflect on their day and upcoming week. Found in those reflections were surprising pockets of joy as a woman realized how deeply she was blessed. It does take time and silence to appreciate what is most precious. After watching this film, it becomes clear why Jesus spent so much time seeking solace and prayer.
I realized I can take some of the monastic experience into the world. I don't have to be so rushed. If I do things with deliberate awareness, I can capture some of the thoughtful intent that defines monastic life. Just being aware of my breathing, or how my hand holds a steering wheel, or leaning back into my chair can all be sacred moments if I take those opportunities to connect with God and give thanks.
Peace and serenity can be had outside the monastery walls. We just have to give a little more thought to it...