On this last full day of my retreat, I’m still meditating on the opening line of the January 13 entry in ‘A Year with Thomas Merton:’ “There is one thing I must do hear at my woodshed hermitage- and that is to prepare fro my death. But that means a preparation in gentleness.” What a great leap- from death to gentleness. So different from Dylan Thomas’s famous advice to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” But at 77, it’s Thomas Merton, not Dylan Thomas, who speaks to me. The prospect of death- heightened by winter’s dark and cold, by solitude, silence, and age- makes it clear that my calling is to be gentle with the many expressions of life, old and new, that must be handled with care if they are to survive and thrive, and that includes me. Sometimes, of course, that means becoming fierce in confronting the enemies of gentleness around me and within me. If that’s a contradiction, so be it. I think Thomas Merton would approve.
~Parker J. Palmer
as decay seems so far away in the springtime….
inquiry for today~ how can your aliveness care for your burdens?
We have the choice of two identities: the external mask which seems to be real…and the hidden, inner person who seems to us to be nothing, but who can give (oneself) eternally to the truth in whom (one) subsists.