Changes

Because of the late-summer timing of our move, the changes of the season have just caught up with us. We had just become accustomed to the arrival each evening and departure each morning of geese from a nearby lake, but now they have gone south for the winter. We had just begun to take in the rich greenness of our surroundings, and now fall has begun to glaze the woods in gold and copper and red. Winter constellations are beginning to peep over the horizon. And the light has changed.

In Julian's anchorhold life, not much would have changed from day to day. The monastic life has a similar stability—one can count on the same activities at the same times, day in and out, the same places and the same faces, the same cycles. It is largely the inner landscape that shifts over time, as one grows. The depth of commitment—to baptismal vows and to one's varied vocations—is the rootedness that makes real growth possible and which bears the fruit of a stability that cannot be found elsewhere, especially when the outer stability is disturbed.

In our way of life, sudden outer change and upheaval are the exception, but when they do happen, that inner stability is the keel that directs us through any waters. Each change is an invitation to letting go and discerning where one's treasure truly lies, and in its own way, an invitation to deeper growth and flourishing in Christ. If anything, we are always called to more change, more growth, since "to be like our Lord perfectly" as Julian notes, "is our true salvation and our complete bliss." And He himself is our way.

 

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