That virginal quality which, for want of a better word, I call emptiness is the beginning of this contemplation.
It is emptiness like the hollow in the reed, the narrow riftless emptiness which can have only one destiny: to receive the piper's breath and to utter the song that is in his heart.
It is emptiness like the hollow in the cup, shaped to receive water or wine.
It is emptiness like that of the bird's nest, built in a round warm ring to receive the little bird.
She was a reed through which the Eternal Love was to be piped as a shepherd's song.
She was the flowerlike chalice into which the purest water of humanity was to be poured, mingled with wine, changed to the crimson blood of love, and lifted up in sacrifice.
She was the warm nest rounded to the shape of humanity to receive the Divine Little Bird.
Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God
For the past seven months I had planned to write something about this passage on the first Sunday of Advent. When I took off all of Thanksgiving week, I thought surely I would find time to do it then, but I never did. Last Sunday came and went, and I just did not have time to sit down and write. Also, I wanted to take these pictures, but I just couldn't find the things I needed. So now it's past my bedtime on the second Sunday, and I have just barely begun.
My week has been so very un-empty. I've only been home two nights out of the past eight. This is just not what I envisioned or wanted, and yet I think that all the things I've been doing have been important. It's really making me think and pray about just what is going on. And, as I mentioned briefly before, I'm wondering if what I'm supposed to be doing is learning something different about emptiness, about prayer and about Advent. I don't really think I've learned much yet, but I think I'm getting to the point where I can surrender my ideas about what is supposed to be happening.
While I'm trying to wrap my mind around all this, I'm thinking that I might spread out what I planned to say about this passage in one post over a longer period of time. Of course, at this point I have no idea whether or not this is going to work out, but one way or another, you will find out in the next week or so.
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I want to thank my husband Bill for really going beyond the call of duty to make these pictures possible. When the only bird nest I could find (Why I don't have an empty bird nest on my 10 acres, I don't know.) was in a tall crêpe myrtle at Walgreen's, he and the very tall, very kind manager retrieved it for me. Also, Bill went and chopped down some bamboo, which, unfortunately abounds on our 10 acres, and made the reed pipe.