Saturday, August 29, 2009

24 Hours Of Living

The last 24 hours or so have been rather enjoyable. Yesterday, being Friday, I had lunch with my friend, Wendy. We have worked together and apart for a number of years. We don't see one another too often apart from lunch so every Friday is a like a little reunion. Friday got even better when I took off a couple of hours early from work. I needed to chauffeur my wife who has a broken foot and cannot drive. The payment for my services was accompanying me to see the new movie "Taking Woodstock". This Ang Lee film is more about the events that led up to the famous Woodstock Festival than about the music. Watching the film was like watching home videos of my youth.

Today I went to the Abbey of Gethsemani for a reunion of former members of the monastic community. When I wasn't being a young hippie, I spent part of my youth living in a monastery learning about the monastic life and the spiritual journey. Relatively speaking it was a short time in my life, and a very long time ago, but it was also a time that greatly influenced who I am today. Today I was with other men who also had this monastic experience. There were men who had lived in the monastery in the 1940's, 50's, 60's, and every other decade till now. Depending on when they were there the experience might have varied somewhat. The monastery, like the world, has not been without change. The day started with mass with the current monastic community. After mass, there was a very enjoyable lunch where I was able to meet some of these other men. We shared stories and laughed a lot. I was also able to spend some time with monks who have been my friends for many years. My experience of the monastery was very good and healthy. I feel blessed that I have maintained relationships with some of the monks individually as well as the entire monastic community in general. It has been especially gratifying to continue being treated like a member of the family. Today felt more like a family reunion than a gathering of mostly strangers who had a common experience.

I did have a deeply religious experience on the road to the monastery this morning. I received a message from God to slow down. It was delivered by a Kentucky State Trooper who told me I was driving 76 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. In my defense I was driving my wife's shiny, new, fire engine red, Pontiac G8. Even the very nice policeman said, "Mr. Brown, you're got a hot car"! Policemen love shiny, new, fire engine red cars, especially when they are a blur going down the road and they are parked nearby with a radar gun! Most religious experiences are priceless. This one is costing me $173!

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