In case you missed it, here is a piece I wrote this week at Good Letters-an Image Journal blog.
“I want a holy experience!” I say to my companions, Amy and Danielle, leaning toward them in the cafeteria of St. John’s College in Santa Fe. We are all spending a week away from our children and husbands at the Glen Workshop to get some time to write and explore the area.
They seem mildly amused by my outburst, possibly because they are used to my naive, idealistic longing for a mystical encounter. We continue discussing a place called Chimayo—about a forty-five minute drive away—that is supposed to have holy dust.
Ooh, holy dust, I think. I want to touch it. I want to feel the holy.
Having been raised in a Christian tradition that was wary of saints, mystics, and anything Catholic (beyond a high view of worship), over the past few years I’ve been carefully releasing my skepticism, backed up too long in a tight intellectual faucet.
Each year, I turn the faucet harder and things began to dump out more freely. But there is a measure of fear in this release. After all, if you open the flow too wide, anything can come out.
This release of my skepticism, all of my writings about mystics, all of my recent challenges, griefs, and anxieties, I long for them to lead me to something at Chimayo—considered the “Lourdes of America,” a place of healing that attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year—perhaps an unmistakable encounter that is deep and profound.