Monday, August 27, 2007

time travel with Sophia

12 hours before I time travel in an Adirondack chair, I am aware that I am awake. It is 2:00 a.m. and I am tossing and turning as I think about a poster I had examined earlier in the day. I pour myself some port and walk down the hallway, this is a shorter trip than the one I took the night before.

The poster has the names of several Jesuits and two others who were murdered in central america. I read a name, pray, take a sip of port, till I have paid my respects. The quote about how Christians need to respond to injustice is what I turn my attention too. I think of childhood pain.

The morning light wakes me and I have no need to rush. I head into the UCC cemetery and I am again amazed by the number of birds. I assume they are flocking to go south.

My soul seems to be at peace as I eat breakfast. Sister Maria hears my 24 hour tale and advises me to be gentle with myself. She claims Sophia is gentle. She asks about the pain. I tell her my childhood story. For my contemplations she recommends time with creation and she will photo copy another prayer by Joyce Rupp, this one on retrieving feelings. Two things occur near the end of my time with her. I feel selfish and admit to it. I want this journey with God to be easy. I want this childhood trauma to be dealt with completely. I am tired of the narrow path mentioned in yesterday's sermon. I want it quick and easy. I also tell myself that as I walk by Sister Maria I am going to pause today and truly feel her hand on my shoulder.

Creation goes well. I see but don't ID warblers, I see and hear a red-tailed hawk, then 100 plus crows emerge from a tree quite dissatisfied with life, then land on another tree. In a few moments I am standing under that tree. I am still, the crows are restless. I see a dead branch that was decaying before it fell and shattered when it hit the ground. I imagine myself Andy Goldsworthey (???) and start a tower. I end up working on it for an hour after I had used up the original branch. Temporary art.

What truly captures my eyes are the two rows of corn closest to me. I claim them RED MAIZE. Later in the afternoon I will draw them in the center of a circle and then fill in the circle with the earth tones I have associated with Sophia. It is my favorite large doodle of this retreat and it is fitting that I drew it for Sister Maria.

Mass is peaceful, lunch is mindful, I draw the doodle. Then I pick up the Joyce Rupp poem. It does not draw me back into the trauma of childhood. Is it because I am at peace with my past, because the image of a hugging mother is not working, or some unknown reason? I thank Sophia for taking me into the pain the day before and get up to finish the doodle. I go outside and sit down in an Adirondack chair and pull out the Joyce Rupp poem. I am walking back into the doctor's office. I ask Sophia to bathe me in blue light and to put her hand on my shoulder. I am also there as a five year old.

I tell him that he will forget his childhood; there will be no memories of elementary school.

I tell him that he will turn to drugs to numb the pain.

I tell him he will have no hope, but God will give some to his mom and it will grow and at some point be passed back into his body.

I tell he will cry, but not for many many years.

I tell him he will consider himself a freak.

I tell him about meeting Margaret and her love which is so great it pushed through his stoic wall.

I tell him about returning to God.

I tell him about how birds and music will bring him peace.

I tell him sad and joyful things. Occasionally I stop and bathe in the blue light, feel that hand on my shoulder.

I am crying in an Adirondack chair.

I tell him that he will take the narrow path, and he will heal his wounds. it will be painful but he will be gentle with himself for wise people will guide him. I tell him that as he heals he will become a healer also. His message to the other people in his life will come closer and closer to the message he will hear from God. He will try to bring comfort to others who have had an unjust childhood. I stand with him 39 years ago, hoping with my faith in God for things yet unseen.

and yes, music soothed... Ella Fitzgerald sang sweetly to me today.

two days left.


  1. I am so glad you were able to tell that five year old boy all those things that surely needed to be said. I believe Sister Maria too, Sophia is gentle.

  2. What happens at Wernersville continues to amaze me. It was a conversation I had never imagined and it took a journey on retreat to make happen.

  3. I like the name ella would be cool to have a name like that. ella... i also like ruby for some strange reason. and a name of an ancestor, keiza. though my husband did not agree, so my daughters do not have the name. i am left wondering who Sophia is, and what happened to your child.

    I find my child self at a about five or that time before school, and all the summer times when i was still on a level with dandelions and swings and bare feet and hot tar bubbles in the street. She is still in me, i know...and i am no longer afraid to find and be that part of me. Though in depression i did not like my child because i thought she needed help and that i needed to be strong. I was wrong, it's the other way around. I love my child heart in me now. And i found out that i need Jesus and to be the child in Him is what gives me His strength. My open child heart-spirit is fed in and by His Spirit. So important to be able to find once again and keep-experience the unfolding of that wonderful part of us that can relate with God in a most delightful way.

    1. wow, this was quite the post. My child self went through some medical trauma that started around 3 and lasted a good long time and I was taught to be stoic about it even though I didn't really know what was going on. It was painful and embarrassing and I truly do not remember elementary school. Stoicism can be a great skill to have, but I have tried to learn a few more. Sophia is Lady Wisdom and is described in The Book of Wisdom which appears in some Old Testaments. as I get to the final comment, I find myself wishing that you lived in PA so we could sit with a beverage and have a conversation. I don't do much on Pinterst these days, but my activity did connect me to you, and that has been wonderful. Peace and hope to you my new friend


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