Permanence. It is my only hope during these dark days in our country, when I see and hear a gleeful call to drill, cut, savage, poison and remove protections from our nation’s parks, natural wonders, burial grounds and sacred spaces. Contributing Blogger, Whitman Smith remembers his father as he ponders permanence.
What happens when we visit places, long abandoned but still grasping the daily sense of life that makes them holy? We long for them and long to bring it back to our own lives. Ebz contributor Jennifer Browning talks about the beauty and simplicity of Mesa Verde National Park.
Just like in the movies, for those in distress, for those on the sidewalks, those watching for snow, wondering where to sleep. For those without a home. And, for those who want to pray. There is so much prayer, but there is no quiet. Architect Andy Osterlund talks about our modern need for places to pray.
Recently, I have been fascinated by “The Curse of Oak Island” series on the History Channel. Who would go to the extent to hide treasure with cryptic clues and booby traps, considering the engineering involved? Structural Engineer, Ted Bartelt talks about the mystery of stone and treasures, both earthly and from the Lord.
When we entered the cavern, we felt the psalmist's, "great peace that never makes them stumble." We were looking for a break from the tiring climb and found it in the calmness of the small, dark room. The monks used the cave for nearly 200 years and now today's weary travelers find respite. Retired teacher and veteran hiker, Dian Leeper shares thoughts on a quiet spot in Switzerland where she rested in prayer and peace.
The business of life, marriage, 3 small children, work, building a community, love, and all of the distractions, left me - for years - disconnected from myself, from God, from the sacred. Contributing blogger, Mary Cade Mainwaring talks about her return to all 3.
“This Chapel will tell people how we were living in the beginning of the 21st. century, what we believed and how we were able to build such a space. I am inspired by this concept, by nature, my spirituality and my passion for architecture.” - Xavier Vilalta, Lead Architect
As a Christ-follower and someone who has traveled all over the globe for mission work, I was certainly intrigued by a place in my home state of North Carolina that was going to provide what cathedrals in Europe have been providing for centuries: a place to come to pray, a place to be quiet, and one that would last long after I was gone. But as a believer, the garden above the chapel site is what really got me thinking.
I believe many of us have this need to be alone, together. In his famous commentary, Here is New York, E. B. White noted, “On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.”
Grief. It will strike us all. It enters when we least expect it and leaves without notice. And returns again unexpectedly. How do we “do” grief? I mean, there are websites on how to get married and the list of things to do, on how to have a baby, and the list of things to do, and how to buy a home, and a list of things to do. But grief,... where does it fit in? As a human, we of course do not want to experience grief. It's not one of the “fun” emotions. If we are lucky we escape grief as a kid.
We’ve moved our office files to the cloud. I don’t buy CD’s anymore. The intangible is becoming more present, more often. We can work from anywhere, we can be entertained on the go, we can pray in our pajamas. And yet, we keep looking for places, we need places. We sit and we exist here and now, but we keep moving.
Architect Andy Osterlund on Place-Making, Ebenezer Chapel and Coffee Shops...
"Many people visit the National Parks yearly, and at Yellowstone I saw first hand, the multitudes, ... all of them searching. If you choose to be quiet, parks are some of the best places for just that."
Guest blogger, Todd Boettcher remembers and reflects briefly about his year in the woods.
She was fearless and filled with light. She reveled in traveling alone and finding the treasures she would have overlooked if she had been with others. She relished the silence in the chaos finding moments of crystal clear beauty even while standing at the luggage carousel or when listening to cowboys sing of campfires long ago extinguished. Hers was a life of solitary travel that made her feel connected to everyone around her, a part of the whole. I envied that me.
If we don’t have physical models to show us how to slow down, then we need physical spaces. We need meditation rooms and quiet spaces, indoor and outdoor sanctuaries where there is only one rule and one expectation...to be quiet.
Melinda Easterling ratifies the hunt for peace in the 21st century.
We ran the stairs 2 at a time with only 10 minutes and basically no idea where we were going.
I haven't been back since, but I remember the long shallow stairs and red carpeting and turning left and right like idiots - sort of laughing and sort of angry. In and out of rooms, we tried to be respectful but kept looking at the map and our watches.
And then, there they were. Side by side, just like us.
No one needs me to enumerate why I might want to be quiet for 5 consistent days in a world that is noisier and more assaulting to the senses than ever. I'm not a luddite, nor am I a hermit or anti-information or even shy for that matter. But I recently returned from a trip to the Abbey of Gethsemani - a working monastery with several dozen monks in residence, 2000 beautiful acres of Kentucky blue grass and a commitment to silence that spans just over a millennia. It turned out to be one of the best things I've experienced and given myself in a very long time.
When I was in elementary school an Army veteran named James Craig Jr. had the idea of saving the battle ship USS North Carolina from the scrap pile. His idea caught fire and school children like me in the second grade in 1958 got involved. I was so enthusiastic about the idea that I saved my lunch milk money for an entire week – one dime and a nickel - and gave it to the cause. If you gave a dime, your name would be put on a list of contributors and you could visit the ship one time for free which my family did in 1961. To this day, every time I drive through Wilmington past the battle ship I think of that campaign and the fact that something big came about from the contributions of many.