An Aging Man’s Wonderings, Ponderings

Stan’s Journal  11/28/17  Fort Worden State Park  near Point Wilson Lighthouse

It is a rainy, miserable day and I am full of joy!  Rain is pouring down, a light wind buffets the car and the sound of waves drifts through a slightly, opened window.  Hanna and I are in the car-warm, dry, safe and full of life, although Hanna is sound of sleep.  I am so thankful for friend Michelle’s question to me this past summer:  “Stan, who are you now that you do not have a congregation to be a pastor of?”

Who am I?  In my aloneness-I did not say loneliness, abut aloneness although there are times of loneliness also- that question periodically echoes in my mind and heart.  Today, here at Fort Worden State Park as I read a few pages from Backpacking With the Saints-Wilderness Hiking As Spiritual Practice by Belden Lane I am reminded that I am constantly on a spiritual journey.  I am a spiritual vagabond as I was called by my teacher and later mentor and then friend and brother Doug Anderson.  Who am I?  I am a Learner.

Slowly I am learning that God’s voice can be heard by me when I spend time in stillness and quietness.  That voice is well known to me, for it is my thoughts, but thoughts that arise from quietness, not from the frantic impulses of my mind.  There is a difference, a qualitative difference.  My mind is always racing, running down this street and then the next ally, but in stillness, the intentional quietness of body and soul and mind, other thoughts surface, unexpected insights, words, directions.

Oh, often I do not trust these thoughts.  I discard them as only the rumination of an aging man so I need the help of my spiritual director to discern what is of me and only me, and what is of me through the window of God.  So I invite my spiritual director to help me in this journey.  I need to learn how to trust myself, that is trust the God who lives inside of me and who desires to “speak” to me.

Who am I?  I am a Learner, an aging man on a spiritual journey which includes a lot of listening.

My Poustinia

I have a poustinia, my office, but does my poustinia have a poustinic?  What in the world is a poustinia and a poustinic?  Poustinia is a Russian word for desert, but it is used for a prayer hut or a prayer cabin.  A poustinic was a person called by God is live a life of poverty, prayer, hospitality and service and who, of course, lived in a poustinia.  

A poustinic doesn’t invite people into his prayer hut, but rather is open to all those whom the Spirit leads to come in.  The poustinic goes about his work, his life in peace.  May it be so, Amen!

The poustinic becomes aware of the slightest movement of the Spirit.  Take nothing for granted, be open to all things, all people.

The poustinic is detached from all things.  If people come, so be it.  They do not belong to the poustinic, but to God.  Detached from my time, my possessions, but these are not mine,  but rather they are God’s time and God’s possessions on loan to me.

What am I to do as a poustinic?  Pray-definitely, but BE even more.  My presence is the calming presence of God to those who enter God’s poustinia, my office.  Though my presence is all important, my very self is also emptied of me so that the Spirit can fill me.  Look to Jesus on the cross as one who emptied himself, gave himself, and whose presence is life.  On the cross all was done TO Jesus.  He did nothing, but we receive everything through him.

“The world is cold.  Someone must be on fire so that people can come and put their cold hands and feet against the fire.”  (Poustinia, Catherine de Hueck Doherty, p. 70)

May I be the fire of God that warms my world.