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Thoughts Along the Road

August 27, 2021
The front of the Chapel at Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea, Minnesota where my Dad is currently in rehab.

Before I began yesterday’s journey from Austin, Minnesota to Florence, Alabama I stopped by the cemetery for a quick visit with Mom. As I wrote in yesterday’s “Lauds in a Graveyard,” four deer along with Sister Moon visited Mom and me.

As I left the cemetery, I put on the album “Point Vierge: Thomas Merton’s Journey in Song” by Alana Levandoski with James Finley narrating. James had been a novice at Our Lady of Gethsemani when Thomas Merton was the Novice Master.

This album had been recommended to me by my dear Sister, Cheryl Anne Maris a while back. I had listened to snippets of it but had never listened to it all the way through. It became my Morning, Midday, and Evening Prayer on the journey from Minnesota to Alabama.

The combination of Alana’s singing and music along with James’s readings from Merton and his own reflections was a true gift and companion to me as I made the trip. I cannot tell you how many times I have read Merton’s “The General Dance” from his book, New Seeds of Contemplation. Yesterday as James Finley read from it and Alana Levandoski sang it hit me in a new and powerful way.

Perhaps it is because we are in such a challenging time when it comes to our Dads. Perhaps it is because we are both exhausted by the continual politicization of the Pandemic and the sad rise in cases and deaths among the unvaccinated. Perhaps it is because my heart is breaking for the people of Afghanistan and wondering what good the last 20 years of war had done.

Alana and James invited me into a reflection on the Cosmic Dance and through them I heard Merton himself inviting me to join him in the General Dance. I didn’t know how much I needed that invitation until the tears began to flow.

This invitation truly hit me in an amazing way: What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously… if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow him in his mysterious, cosmic dance… we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join him in the General dance. (Kindle version, p. 302, 303)

Perhaps if more of us set aside our egos, our vanity, our need to be right at any cost, and the callous disregard for others, this world might be a better place. Will you join with me dear reader, as I accept Merton’s invitation?

  1. pynkoski2 permalink

    So pleased you had and shared this experience. Blessings as you and Denise continue your support and care for your parents.

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