Well, the time has come to leave Washington State. The whole experience been such a pleasant surprise, I have no words to describe my gratitude for all the kind and loving people I’ve met. I expected to leave with a few donations for our small monastic house, and I feel I’m leaving with so much more than that: friends, people I really connected with, people I know will remain in touch and will continue to pray for me and the monastery through these difficult years. Someone said this is the time when the monastery gets born, and that pain is natural. At times, that is obvious to me, too – nothing truly beautiful and blessed comes without sacrifice. Perhaps that’s because nothing truly beautiful and blessed belongs to this world, it all comes from Christ, and only a fine, transparent soul (made fine and transparent through sacrifice alone) can go beyond this world and open up to receiving something of Christ’s beauty and blessedness. I pray our monastery will be transparent enough in God’s eyes, so it may bring true beauty and blessing over its community, its benefactors and the whole world.
I don’t know how to express this. All I know is the love I’ve been surrounded with these last few days: nothing has been forgotten, nothing has been taken for granted, every single kind word is remembered and much appreciated. I’ve been reminded again that the meeting of two people is a mystery in its own right. Simply being face to face, doing our best to have an open, honest conversation, fighting to let go of all our masks for a few minutes, this is a mystery we so easily forget. Two walking breathing beings, both created in the same image of God, trying to go beyond the heavy and confusing ways of the body and really connect, really embrace in the Spirit: when we succeed, it is a true mystery; when we succeed, as we have several times over these days, I worry about nothing. When we succeed, I’m always reminded in my heart of Christ’s words: when two or three gather in My Name, I am here with you.
So, thank you, Washington State. I pray one day we meet again – either back here, in this lovely, rainy state, or at the monastery, on our lovely, rainy island.
Several of you have also asked me about the rest of my schedule while in the US. I still don’t know all the details, and I get many invitations as I advance from one parish to another, especially for events during the week. However, the talks on Sundays are all confirmed, and here they are: Milwaukie (October 19th); Santa Rosa (October 26th); Sacramento (November 2nd); Fairfield (November 9th); Garden Grove (November 16th); Tarzana (November 23rd); Phoenix (November 30th and December 7th).
I’m leaving in less than two hours, and it may be a while before I have access to the internet again. As I receive and confirm more invitations for during the week (smaller retreats, talks, more private meetings in people’s homes etc) I shall try to announce them in due time. Please continue to pray for me and the monastery – this is a place founded on your love, your sacrifice and your prayers. I’m merely a tool in God’s hands; please pray this tool continues to be in good shape and health. I very often feel like under attack (and not always lovely attacks, like the one in the attached photograph).