It’s been an unpleasant surprise to me to find my movements so restricted by my pain. I was upset recently not to be able to travel 3 hours to the city for the interment of my goddaughter’s ashes. I even find it difficult to travel to Dunsborough 30 minutes away. Being ‘stuck at home’ means I have an excuse not to go to meetings. That’s generally good. The down side is that I can feel left out of the various organisations I belong to.
But the unpleasant surprise has been reduced by a gradual pleasant surprise. People are coming to see me about their Christian lives and ministries because I am at home and therefore have a largely empty calendar. They find it possible to fit me in their busy lives because I am here. I am here all the time.
This surprising availability to others has been a joy for me. Not only do my visitors bring me collegial company, but they also allow me to exercise my gifts of pastoral supervision and listening.
I have decided to name this surprise after one of the vows of the Benedictine monastic tradition. In addition to the three ‘Gospel’ vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, a Benedictine monk also makes a promise of ‘stability’ – to remain with this community for the rest of his life.
Stability is a protest against the busy running around most of us do in our work and in our family life. Monastic stability reminds the rest of us that being still, being less mobile, is a good thing. For monks, stability means that they can be found by God. But being a still point attracts others.
Unlike that of Benedictine monks, my immobility is not chosen. However, I can welcome it as stability, as a way that will bring me into different contact with people, as a way that links me more firmly to this little corner of my suburb, and as an opportunity where I might be found by God and so deepen my spirituality.
Reframing enforced immobility as chosen stability is a good thing to do with my brain.