Monday, October 29, 2012

Silence and the soul

One of the headlines in this morning's newspaper was "Wired world thwarts true solitude." That was followed by an article about how plugged in we are in America (well, duh!), and how we share a compulsion to check in on social media, via computer or smart phone, constantly in order to let our friends and family know what we do 24/7, as if the world will stop turning if we don't. (The irony is not lost on me that I will deliberately share this blog post on social media.)

The article went on to lament the fact that Sabbath is now an antiquated concept to most of us, and we are surrounded by constant noise in the digital world. Happily, some mavericks are doing something to change all that; such as turning OFF their computers after work (gasp!), or leaving the cell phone at home while on vacation. 

It seems strange to me that silence is a foreign concept to people, but think about it: when was the last time you spent more than 1 minute in silence? 

Parker Palmer, in his lovely book, A Hidden Wholeness, writes: "The soul loves silence because [the soul] is shy, and silence helps it feel safe."[1] 

We spend our days at work amidst the noisy demands of computers and cell phones (beep beep...answer me NOW - I might be urgent...while you're here, check your Twitter feed!), then we drive home listening to music or talk radio, walk in the house and turn on the TV, we even wear ear-buds while working out or walking in the woods.... So I repeat the question: when was the last time you spent more than 1 minute in silence?

Our souls are shy. We cannot expect our souls to come out to play if the world around us is a cacophony of incessant, demanding, noisy obligations! The only way to reconnect with our inner self is through silence. 

That is what we aim to do with The Oasis - to offer a place where people can go to find silence. What they do in the silence is up to them. Some may seek the silence to renew, to rest, or to just be still. Some may find inspiration in the silence. Some may find God in the silence. And for a special few, their souls will come out to play.

1. Parker J. Palmer. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life (Kindle Location 1555). Kindle Edition.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Step at a Time

"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." 
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have to keep reminding myself of that insightful quotation. There is so much to do when launching a new ministry; things I never even considered! This week I sent off our 501(c)3 application to the IRS, so that The Oasis Renewal Center will qualify for tax exempt status, and be able to take tax-deductible donations. It was just one more step on our journey. A complicated, time-consuming step; but just one step.
The journey can often seem long, especially when the destination isn't clearly visible from my particular vantage point. I am keeping in mind that God called me to launch this ministry, and He is in charge of how it develops and grows. He knows the final destination, and He knows how many steps need to be taken before I get there. He hasn't given me a complete picture of the final outcome, but He keeps me moving in the right direction.
So I keep putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward.... one step at a time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

This past weekend my husband David and I drove to Sonoita, Arizona to search for properties for The Oasis Renewal Center. We absolutely love the area, and as you can see from the photo, it is just gorgeous. We know that we are meant to develop The Oasis in that area.

The search for our new "home" has been really interesting, as we look at houses and ranches. Some were so run-down and dilapidated that it surprised us that they were trying to sell them and not paying someone to take it off their hands! One ranch house had a large family of ground squirrels living in the bedroom and several black widows in the bath. And another had great views, lots of solitude, a nice house...and a 7 mile unpaved, rutted, dirt "driveway."

Of course, as a non-profit, we're only able to afford so much. Unless we win the lottery, we aren't going to be able to afford a multimillion dollar property. And that's OK! We know that God has already set aside a property for The Oasis; we just have to find it! And I know that once we set foot on it, we will know we are home.

" What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
    I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
    where I could sing for joy to God-alive!
 Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
    sparrows and swallows make nests there....
 How blessed they are to live and sing there!" 
(Psalm 84:1-4, The Message)