Retreat Reflections: Breakfast 4'33"

Breakfast had started by the time I arrived. Already, people were sitting at tables eating. My normal breakfast is a bowl of oatmeal, and there were packets of oatmeal available in case I wanted to make some. Yet I decided to get my daily oats in the form of Cheerios and to add to that a hardboiled egg and a cup of yoghurt.

There was one particular table where the sunlight seemed greater than at other tables and I chose to sit there with my face to the sun. It would make it easier to be silent and for others around me to give space to my silence.

If I looked towards the window, my eyes adjusted to the brightness and everything in the room seemed dim. At times, I closed my eyes to just feel the sunlight on my face.

The sounds of breakfast were like John Cage’s 4'33", the background noises becoming the foreground as a result of everyone’s silence. There was the sound of spoons hitting the sides of bowls of cereal. There was the sound of butter and jam being spread on toast. There was the sound of people cracking the hardboiled eggs. There was the sound of people walking and of chairs being scooted in.

My thoughts returned to the saying, “The miracle was not that the bush was not consumed. The miracle was that Moses noticed.” I sat quietly, listening to breakfast opus 433, trying to absorb it all. I got up and got a cup of coffee. I thought of Virginia Woolf sitting quietly drinking her coffee.

Where do you miraculously experience the beauty of God and God’s creation?

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