by Guest Writer
“Outside, inside, I am everywhere: beyond you, within you, beside you, above you, below you, around you. There is nowhere that I am not. Be at home in me.” –Margaret Silf, One Hundred More Wisdom Stories
In “One Hundred More Wisdom Stories,” Margaret Silf tells the story of the Island Chapel. In the story, a group of islanders build a chapel where they can worship the creator of their beautiful island. Once inside, however, the islanders are deeply disappointed. They realize that they can no longer experience the beautiful sights and sounds of the island, through which they typically encounter the presence of the creator spirit. Only one girl visits the chapel every day. When asked why she does this, she answers: “if I listen carefully to the deep stillness there in the chapel, I hear the wind and the waves, the seagulls and the trees, right inside my heart, where they can never fade or die, and the creator spirit invites me to take a walk inside my soul.”
I recently had the pleasure of participating in a Women’s Circle, a gathering of wonderful women who meet monthly for fellowship, conversation, and spiritual reflection. These were women with very busy lives and many responsibilities, from work, to study, to taking care of children. With everything going on, they took time out of their busy schedules to gather for an evening spent together in reflection.
“Where is your chapel?” was a question posed to the group. Many beautiful answers were shared, from specific places of peace and quiet, to the safety and acceptance found in relationships, to activities that brought a sense of stillness and joy. It was in these places, people, and activities that these women were able to encounter the whispering of the spirit inside of themselves.
Where is your chapel?
While I had difficulty answering the question for myself, I felt moved by the amazing insights shared by each person in the group. I knew that for at least that night, I had found a chapel among a beautiful group of women, where I could encounter the spirit’s presence within myself.