A Brief Review of
The Way of the Dreamcatcher:
Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax: Poet, Peacemaker, Sage
by S.T. Georgiou
Paperback: Novalis, 2002.
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Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.
Readers of Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain will be familiar with Robert Lax, the prophet-like best friend whom Merton describes therein as having “a kind of natural, instinctive spirituality, a kind of inborn direction to the living God.” For readers such as myself, this description was the first and last that I had heard of Lax until Steve Georgiou’s recent book The Way of the Dreamcatcher: Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax: Poet, Peacemaker, Sage, which picks up with Lax in his hermitage on the island of Patmos between 1993 and 2000, 50 years after the events in The Seven Storey Mountain. As it turns out, Lax has been writing fantastic minimalist poetry all along, and for those who have kept up with his work, Dreamcatcher must be a welcome insight into Lax’s thoughts; for the rest of us, this book of conversations between Lax and Georgiou is an invitation to the work of this thoughtful, peaceful man.
The majority of the book is conversation, Georgiou throwing out anything and everything he can think of, and Lax calmly and wisely narrating his comprehensive vision of the peaceful kingdom of God: “Every day I come to see what makes me more peaceful. If I can find this out for myself, maybe my quest can eventually help others. There are so many points of connection between people, so many original sights and sounds that we share, as if we were one creation but didn’t really know it” (93-4).
Dreamcatcher presents Lax as a wise hermit, full of a wisdom aware of the very immanence of God in all of creation, and most especially in other people; for all of Lax’s chosen solitude, his communion with and deep love of people is reinforced time and again, as is his submission to the way of the cross:
“When I was somewhere in my thirties, I made two lists – on one was what I wanted in life, and on the other I listed why I wasn’t getting it. Both lists eventually helped me to figure out what was really needed, what was essential.
And what was that?
Simply the grace and peace of heaven. Anything more just seemed to get in the way.
Well, that’s certainly getting down to basics!
You bet.” (151)
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com