Thomas Merton says, “In a world of noise, confusion, and conflict, it is necessary that there be places of inner silence and peace, not the peace of mere relaxation but the peace of inner clarity and love.” These places of inner silence and peace can have so many personal meanings. I came across this quote right before I stepped into the chapel. I was on my way to the Eucharistic Adoration, a weekly event that I look forward to. This historic chapel has been my place of inner silence and peace for the past five years. The number of years I regularly visited this chapel on Thursdays stands for the years that I have lived in my current area. In my world of noise, confusion, and conflict, this chapel offers stability, inner silence and peace like no other. I honestly believe that I wouldn’t have stayed in this area this long had it not been for this place of inner silence that was the foundation of inner clarity and love.
But on days when I can’t get to the church for quiet retreat, I maintain inner peace through my personal prayers in my room. I pray with the rosary or in silence meditating on the Crucifixion. I have a slow walk in my backyard or run up the hill on the road, I read out in the nature with a warm breeze baptizing me with gentle love… whatever I do, I fix my gaze on heaven, on my God, and there, in the quiet hour, is my place of inner silence and peace. It’s these little tidbits of healing moments here and there in between my daily anxieties that I find the strength to withstand whatever it is that I am going through right now -which I refuse to label anymore.
The deep water of sadness runs through every vein in my body even though I have no real reason to feel this intense sadness. This degree of heavy sadness would have immobilized my body and soul trapping my being in my own body filled with dark essence. Late in the afternoon, as the heating sun was losing its intensity, I was lying in my white bed with my companion “sadness” by my side. I turned my gaze toward the window where the warm afternoon sunlight was penetrating through the tightly shut blinds. I felt the warmth pouring on my face. Even though the contrast of light (the sunlight) and darkness (my mood) triggered my past torturous memories of my depressive episodes, I felt my soul bravely reaching closer to the light unafraid of the sadness also approaching closer and closer to my heart.
Upon leaving the chapel after the Adoration last Thursday, I was asked whether I would be able to volunteer flowers for the altar. I often wondered who prepared those flowers, always so fresh and perfectly arranged. You are only required to bring two flower bouquets, she says, and I happily put down my name on the closest spot, which was, alas, September. The whole year’s flower arrangement was already planned out, 80 percent. Since I signed up for the flower offering, I find myself stopping at the flower department every time I am at the grocery market. Just as I look forward to Eucharistic Adoration each week, I now look forward to the day I get to offer my flowers to my Jesus.
This afternoon, as I was gently holding my ocean of sadness in my heart staring at the light through my window, I realized, that this, too, is my offering to my Jesus that He gladly accepts. This mysterious sadness that I collect in this wounded world full of noise, confusion, and conflict, is my daily offering to God. Just as a flower blooms after a complete abandonment of the self and total dependency on God, my unknown sadness is the sign of my total dependency on His mercy. And it gives Him great joy to take away my sadness and turn it into a song of joy. Hallelujah, Hallelujah.