The Peace of Place

Now and then, through grace, things line up and I am awash in what I know as The Peace of Place. When for an unpredictable duration, there is a beautiful synchronicity of action, awareness, and interior disposition that gives a glimpse of what William Wordsworth hinted at in the lines

…that blessed mood,

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,

In which the affections gently lead us on,—

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

And even the motion of our human blood

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, and become a living soul:

While with an eye made quiet by the power

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

We see into the life of things.

(From Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey)

Years ago, I had the chance to be among the ruins of this abbey and I felt the intertwining calls to quiet humility and largeness of spirit. Both were true and alive within me, each needing the other in order to express the fullness of what I felt.

This morning, far from the hills Wordsworth wandered, I was at the corner of Coburg and Robie streets, listening to the practice of Mostly Righteous, the band for St. Andrew’s United Church. Simply put, they rocked it. A holy jam session with an overlap of voices and instrumentation that left me gently weeping at the invitation to enter that space where all converged. To walk though, to allow for that “almost suspension” and become “a living soul” that knows the deep power of joy…which is so much richer, more nuanced, than happiness…and with that grounding freedom, to see into the life of things.

It made me think of my childhood certainty that if I could let go just enough, I’d be able to see inside the rock, the bit of bark, the blade of grass, and understand what held it all in place, what gave it Beingness. The harmonies of the band made me think too of how I envision the Sacred Heart, the coming together of what is most completely human with what is most intensively divine.

The Peace of Place…to rest at the confluence and feel the union of what I had thought to be separate streams. To rest and be buoyed by the mix of what is real.

It is in the coming together…of people, of voices, of circumstance, of truths, that the “heavy and weary weight/of all this unintelligible world” is indeed lightened and made easier to bear: there in that union, in the rich confluence of what Is, is the invitation of God to enter in fully and know that we are not alone.

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