In this crazy busy Universe with so many tasks to complete, we long for a quiet time alone. But when we stay alone in a quiet place, it is not always easy to accept our aloneness and to enjoy solitude to the fullest. Staying in the monastery is a chance to see ourselves from God’s perspective: broken and beautiful, mournful and blessed, dependent and strong, weak and still able to receive care and love of others.
I like writings about hospitality by Henri Nouwen in his “Bread for the journey”. Henri writes: “Every good relationship between two or more people, whether it is friendship, marriage or community, creates space where strangers can enter and become friends. Good relatioships are hospitable… Hospitality is more than an expression of love for the guest. It is also and foremost an expression of love between the hosts”.
I’ve seen this kind of hospitality and love in Cetinje monastery (Montenegro) and this hospitality was so life-giving for me. I believe that God inspires Christians to do things, like asking a stranger to join for a cup of tea or coffee, for a meal together. Sometimes we all have moments when we are so eager to give up, to turn around and walk away from some people or place. And sometimes we are blessed enough to have someone around to stop us from this decision. And when we stay and allow ourselves to be weak, to be broken, to mourn and to be dependent on someone’s care, then we cry and then we get rid of our illusions, hurt feelings and ruined trust & hopes [Henri Nouwen’s idea on the “Road to Emmaus”]. And when we see ourselves at our lowest moments and allow our closest people to see us that way – that moment could become a starting point for us to move forward. Move forward towards ourselves and God, towards this healthy solitude, that heals and helps us to see real Hope in Jesus Christ, not in our own strength.
Sometimes we do not know (and maybe will never know on this Earth) why things happen in our lives in the way they happen… But as my new and great friend Father Stephan says: we need to learn to respect ourself, to close some life pages as soon as possible, and to send some people (or/and events) to oblivion. Because if we do so and allow God to take care of us, He will give us better people and better things in future life. God will help us to be strong again and to overcome difficult experience and to have joy in our hearts and souls again.
Adriatic sea, mountains and cliffs, steep roads and wonderful views. Delicious hot “regular coffee”, bitter cold tonic. Supportive look, listening friend and silent prayers in beautiful ancient monasteries. God is amazing! so are His people.
As Montenegrian wisdom says: Because when you’re sad, then you’re ugly:) So let’s be happy and beautiful. Let’s embrace our aloneness and enjoy solitude to the fullest. Because in the end, only “good people are not afraid of love” as my friend Father Stephan says.