Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Staying

There was once a brother in a monastery who had a rather turbulent temperament; he often became angry. So he said to himself, “I will go and live on my own. If I have nothing to do with anyone else, I will live in peace and my passions will be soothed.” Off he went to live in solitude in a cave. One day when he had filled his jug with water, he put it on the ground and it tipped over. So he picked it up and filled it again—and again it tipped over. He filled it a third time, put it down, and over it went again. He was furious: he grabbed the jug and smashed it. And then came to his senses and realized that he had been tricked by the devil. He said, “Since I have been defeated, even in solitude, I’d better go back to the monastery. Conflict is to be met everywhere, but so is patience and so is the help of God.” So he got up and went back where he came from.

“If you find relationships difficult, what will you do about your relationship with yourself, your own body, the cussedness of ordinary things? Sin and struggle are not just about what you do to others. Conflict is to be met everywhere, not least in facing ourselves. So to stay in the cell is most fundamentally to stay in touch with the reality of who I am as a limited creature, as someone who is not in control of everything, whether inner or outer, as an unfinished being in the hands of the maker.”
~Rowan Williams (from Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another)

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