But if the sin-sickness of the soul is a hidden one, let her reveal it only to the Abbess or to a spiritual mother, who knows how to cure her own and others' wounds without exposing them and making them public." - Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 46
I suppose I could have chosen another part of the rule to write about this, and I haven't yet confessed it to my Abbot. But I'm sure the confession will be heard as soon as he reads it. I suppose the reason I did choose this chapter was its mention of "working at any craft." For those who have been reading my blog, yes this does mean I'm going to talk about ceramics again. But this time I'm writing about the time spent working with a pottery wheel instead of clay's actions on the wheel.
The Benedictine concept of balance essentially means making room in your life for all the things you need, prayer, sleep, work, play, and creativity. But you can overdo anything, even the things you need, you can easily find yourself out of balance.
For me creativity means writing, or ceramics. So Wednesday night, when I found to my delight that my scheduled evening committee meeting took only 15 minutes. I Ignored the fact that, as a I have a miserable cold, I should have taken the opportunity to go to bed early, instead I delightedly rushed down to my workshop and turned on the pottery wheel. Unfortunately there is not a clock in the workshop, something I intend to rectify, so I kept telling myself I could throw just one more pot on the wheel before calling it quits for the evening. By the time I was almost finished with my last project, it was past ten o'clock. And by the time I finished cleaning up it was after eleven. Then, naturally I needed a little time to unwind . . . It was midnight before I got to sleep.
Of course I had an early morning meeting scheduled for the next morning. After that I had intended to spend the day writing. Naturally I was too tired to write anything coherent. By the time of that night's meeting I looked so tired that the committee members ordered me to go home and go to sleep.
So today, I determined to get myself back into balance by spending the day writing, and reading fiction, my way of playing. I also found a clock to mount in the workshop so I can't ignore time passing. The lack of moderation in anything, even in something you need, can throw you out of balance. And when one thing goes out of balance, other things go with it. Fortunately for me, the only thing I needed to get back in balance, this time, was a good night's sleep.
Will I head down to the workshop this evening? Probably, as I need to check on some pieces that have already been thrown. But I think I will let the wheel alone. And the next time I start it up, I will make sure a clock is in the workshop too.
Thank you Father Benedict for your rule's reminder about committing faults and the about the imbalance faults can create in my life, I pray I will remember it at an earlier hour when it occurs next time.
Brother Oscar Romero