I’m halfway home from the Monastery at Mt. Tabor and I’ve stopped to prepare my heart for home.
The weekend offered me the opportunity to share my hurts with those who could be present to my pain while praising my blessings.
The principles of Benedictine life provide a beautiful framework for practical spirituality in the midst of my busy everyday life.
The rule offers surprisingly gentle wisdom, profound understanding of the human nature and down-to-earth answers to the questions relating to my marriage, motherhood, farm duties, community responsibilities, and care of my home. We can’t do it all so we are relying on our prayer life to lead us to what can, and should, be done.
In time, I’ve learned that the condition of my inner life is what determines the quality of my outer life. My “success” is dependent on my willingness to put in “the work”.
Nathan and I are working together to build what some might call a “domestic church” within our home. A space that not only raises up children, but keeps us sane, capable, focused, and optimistic in our roles as farmer and farmwife.
We take the responsibilities, gifts, and blessings that have been given to us seriously and are committed to nourishing them as well as we can, for as long as we can. Not perfectly, but as Benedict might say himself, “good enough”.
At home, prayer is kept short and integrated into the work of learning, keeping home, growing food, in rest, play, and conversation.
Benedict’s divine wisdom reveals that the family living and working together becomes a community of prayer in action.
Each time I visit the sisters I’m reminded that the routines and rituals of my home life have much in common with the vows they’ve given to God and one another.
I’m always eager to arrive and equally ready to depart. My home is my sanctuary and refuge.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist