Though this New Year has started off darkly—both in metaphor and in grim reality—the wish of seeing the light that overcomes all darkness carries us. As we look out from the start of a New Year marred by both pandemic and insurrection, I hope that we can all still fix our eyes on the hope, peace, and justice that is shining before us, leading us on.
Today, January 6, is celebrated by many Christians as Epiphany with the retelling of the story of the Magi. These Sages from far off lands and different cultures followed a new light in the sky. This was a light of a promised era of love, peace, and justice for all. At Oranbega Retreat Center, we celebrated with a prayer that the spirits of these Travelers would guide us. In turn, we hope to share their blessings with all the adventurous souls who will honor us as Guests in 2021, each of you bringing your gift.
Light can bring unexpected surprises…
Here at the Center we we were recently helped in seeing the light. Our eyes have been opened to the importance for us to make friends with the neighbors. Some have been disturbed at the thought that we are opening some kind of “Hotel” in their dooryard. We are doing our best to reassure them that we want to be good neighbors.
In the course of reaching out to neighbors, we met with the pastor of the Methodist Church next door, who lent us a poetry book written by Clarine Coffin Grenfell. Clarine was a poet and memoirist who lived right here at 36 Narramissic Drive from about 1980-2000. She even operated something called the Grenfell Reading Center here– a place for poets and writers to come and read their works to each other and to the community. We were stunned to discover that our vision for a Retreat Center at this address was not totally new, but a new flowering of what she had dreamed and set into being before she died.
In Clarine’s honor, we have re-named one of our Guests rooms the Clarine Grenfell Room. We hope that you will come and stay with us in it, and discover for yourself the spirit of creativity that is alive in this house.
Other ways of seeing the light…
Poetry, stories, painting, music, prayer—these are all ways to keep seeing the light. We are dedicated to all of these soul stirring activities at Oranbega Retreat Center. In January, the poet who will stir our souls is none other than my countryman, the great Robert Burns. We are excitedly preparing for our Burns Night celebration. This features a small in-person gathering at 5:00 p.m. We will have a piper, and of course a haggis, and some Burns poetry, Scottish music, and prayer in the Celtic tradition. At 7PM, the Zoom portion of the celebration begins, sharing some recordings from the in-person festivities. The Zoom celebration will be from 7-8 p.m. Click here to register.
In the words of the 19th Scottish poet Charles Mackay, slightly altered:
There’s a good time coming, friends, a good time coming
There’s a good time coming, friends, wait a little longer!
We may not live to see the day, but earth shall glisten in the ray
Of the good time coming!
So take cheer, friends, even in the face of disease and the disgrace experienced in 2020. May we all see the light in 2021!