This is last night's sunset at Neck Point, the little tip of Shaw Island where we used to live when the girls were little. I was on the island this past weekend (and away from the internet, in case you were wondering) so that my daughter and I could attend the memorial service for my friend's son (and my daughter's schoolmate), the 20 year old boy who died three weeks ago of an aneurysm.
It was lovely to be back on the island, and lovely to see my daughter (however briefly; she had to leave right after the service to get ready to lead a canoe trip at the camp where she works). And lovely most of all, despite the circumstances, to spend an evening with Teddy's mom; to hear the story of his life and death; to hear how their lives have been going and what her plans are for the future: she's an amazing and admirable woman, now a minister in the Church of Religious Science, and is about to turn her home -- now that her girls are in college -- into a bed and breakfast for people who come to Seattle for treatment for chronic illnesses like Lyme Disease (of which she and her daughter are also sufferers).
I had a lot of alone time while I was away -- Shaw is like that -- and I spent much of it reading Echoing Silence, a compendium of Thomas Merton's thoughts on writing. I am still processing, but what he was writing was absolutely soul-stirring for me: I felt I'd found my soulmate, I received a ton of affirmation for what I've been encountering along the way, and I can see I still have a great deal to learn on this path. So I thought, rather than go into what sometimes feels like preacher mode, I'd just share this quote from Merton today: it explains better than I ever could why it is that writing here means so much to me. Thank you -- by the way -- for continuing to be willing readers.
“Writing is the one thing that gives me access to some real silence and solitude. Also I find that it helps me to pray because, when I pause at my work, I find that the mirror inside me is surprisingly clean and deep and serene and God shines there and is immediately found, without hunting, as if He had come close to me while I was writing, and I had not observed his coming.”