Sunday, March 01, 2009

Monastic Day Trip

Today turned out to be a beautiful day. It was cool but also bright and sunny and the sky was blue. When I got out of bed this morning it was a different story. The temperature was in the low 20's with a very brisk wind that created a windchill in the teens. As I pumped gas into my car in the early morning darkness while freezing my ass off, I wondered why I was even up, much less why was I driving to the monastery. However, as the car warmed up and I held a cup of hot coffee in my hand, I was soon enjoying my solitary drive. These early morning drives along the country highways are actually very enjoyable. As I drove along I could see many, many damaged trees from the recent ice storm. Before arriving at the monastery I stopped for a second cup of coffee at the home of my good friend, Father Dennis. We enjoyed some pleasant conversation. I hated to have such a short visit but I had business at the monastery. A nice size group awaited me in the room at the monastery where we meet every month. We had some good discussion that had me wondering, "What is it about the monastery that seems to attract people who are hurting"? Within my group, and with people in general who visit the monastery, there seems to be a fair amount of personal pain and distress. Admittedly, I think most people, whether or not they visit monasteries, are broken and wounded to some degree. I am one of them. That does not make me unique. It makes me human. I think the monastery attracts hurting and wounded people because it is a place of healing, a spiritual hospital of sorts. Of course, I treat my soul and my heart much like my body when it is sick. I try to take my medicine and follow the doctor's directions as best I can. I tend to suffer...and silence. I am simply not the kind of person that always needs to talk about it. I am very private about such things. Perhaps I hold in too much but I prefer to think that I am simply stoic and I don't need to spill my guts all the time. Some people do, some people don't. Maybe someday I will have a breakdown from holding it all in. If I am holding something in that I need to let go, I do not know what it is. For me the realization that I am broken and wounded is enough. Others experience the same to a greater or lesser degree. I can only acknowledge my own brokenness, let it go, and move on with my life. The drive home from the monastery always seems stressful. Going to the monastery always feels like I am leaving chaos and entering the calm. Coming home it is the reverse. The increasing intensity of the traffic is a good metaphor for the return to the world. The day ended with dinner. Chloe and her parents met my wife and I at a restaurant. After our meal we walked a short distance to the pie and ice cream shop. If you want to be "Pa Paw of the Year", take your granddaughter to a pie and ice cream shop. Of course, at this moment my blood sugar level is off the chart based on the way I feel. Everything has a price. When will I learn?


Unknown said...

So it was wise to skip that massively tempting chocolate cake that Brenda brought.

Littlefair said...

I heard this radio play yesterday and thought you'd be interested:

I think you can listen again for seven days here:

The Lemon Squeezer
By Triona Adams

Swapping London life for a convent at the age of 27 was never going to be easy. Tabitha’s new sisters have men’s names, sleep in cells and pray 7 times a day. It is a life she has chosen, but will it accept her?