Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Trip To Gethsemani

Today is my last day of vacation before jumping back into the 9-5 work grind. It has been a good day. I woke up without an alarm clock. At my age, after many years of having to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, I no longer need an alarm clock. I automatically wake up. Although the hour was early I needed to wear my sunglasses as I drove the interstate and country roads that lead to Gethsemani. Like most Sunday mornings traffic was very light and I enjoyed the drive. I intentionally left home earlier than necessary so I could have some quiet time at the monastery before my meeting. As I sat in the retreat house garden I was mesmerized by the hummingbirds around me. At one time I think there were four of them. In my neighborhood hummingbirds are rather rare so it would have been a treat to see even one. They darted around, swooped in for sips of the sweetened water in bird feeders, and chased one another. Hummingbirds in flight seem to produce a buzzing sound. Their antics reminded me of some of the battle scenes in Star Wars. I was lost in the hummingbird wars until the nearby abbey bells alerted me that it was time to join with my group. This month it was an unusually large group and we had some great conversation about our false senses of security and the meaning of humility. The dialog began with some monastic texts from the Rule of St Benedict, written in the 6th century, but quickly turned into discussion of the challenges of living spiritually in the 21st century.

After mass with the monks, and a pot luck lunch with my friends, I headed down the road to the home of my friend, Father Dennis. He is most hospitable and when I am at his home I feel very much at home. As I have said many times, Dennis is like a big brother to me. As the oldest sibling in my family I never had an older brother or sister so it's nice to have Dennis in my life. We have wonderful conversations that are funny and deep at the same time. I wish I wasn't so busy and had more time to visit him. It's frustrating that my visits are usually rushed because I always seem to have somewhere else I am supposed to be.

Tomorrow it's back to the daily work grind. It's difficult enough to return to work every Monday after a weekend. Going back after a week of vacation and the personal freedom associated with that is down right cruel.

I don't really mind because I have missed some of my work friends. As my son says, "It's all good"! Amen.

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