One of the most precious tasks I have at Mill House is looking after the chickens and collecting the eggs. And whilst they might not come out wrapped in chocolate like the ones I was given for Easter. It is a wonderful moment when I hold a freshly laid, still warm egg in my hand. A nun from Ghana once shared a proverb with me
Kakra kakra akoko benum nsno - Slowly, slowly, the hen drinks water
And that has stayed in my mind and my heart especially when I watch our hens drink. It seems to be saying something very profound and offers an opportunity to look at our lives which are so much about rush and busyness and to think about stillness and space and peace. Our world seems to be the complete opposite, full of rush and anxiety and noise. Some days even when you first get up there’s an overwhelming sense that there is just too much to do and you are tired and defeated before you even start. And a retreat house is no different, we are blessed with a wonderful setting, and opportunities to find space and silence but there are still a million and one practical things to do which can eat away at any peace of mind and threaten the sense of God’s presence that we try to rest in and enjoy.
Stilling the space within ourselves, drinking slowly, doesn't just happen, it comes from deep longing, deep thirst, even sometimes deep pain. So how can we nurture, protect and rejoice in a sense of stillness within? What does it mean to be still? It isn’t about sitting idly doing nothing. It's savouring the moment. It's being blessed with a sense of our place in the world, of being safe in the hands of the Creator God who made us. Of being connected with the mystery of life.
So if you get an opportunity to collect eggs this month or to watch a bird in the garden drink or even when you drink a glass of water yourself. Think about the mystery of life, the joy of life. Not cheap joy. But the joy that had to first endure the cross. The joy of risen life, the joy of hope.