Spiritual journey to Greece provides both clarity and questions.
Cairns (American Literature and Creative Writing/Univ. of Missouri) continues his spiritual journey by visiting Mt. Athos, a Greek peninsula marked by a population of monks and pilgrims. Cairns explains that he has been implementing prayer into his life more and more for several years, and that he is in search of a spiritual father to help guide his quest to “become prayer.” This quest leads him to Mt. Athos, where he meets striking beauty, monastic asceticism, unsettling contradictions and a rich spiritual environment. Cairns recalls three visits to Mt. Athos, culminating in a trip with his teenaged son. He encounters a variety of reactions from monks and pilgrims both, ranging from hospitality and genuine friendship to suspicion, condescension and ostracism. He is asked why he has flown several thousand miles to find a spiritual father when there are such people in his own country, and he learns in the end that indeed he is surrounded by spiritual fathers and mothers, including those who speak through centuries-old books. The author’s writing style can be erratic and sometimes too casual for the weightiness of the subject matter. Still, his enthusiasm for his faith is apparent as he invites the reader to boldly believe in miracles while admitting that he has a long way to go in his own journey.
Worthwhile spiritual memoir.