What We Do For Fun

chill in the air, the woods-path to the convent bright with fallen leaves, a wall of corn drying in the barn, the first wood-stove fire, a preying mantis laying her eggs in the asparagus

One of the sisters made her profession on Saturday in the city convent. (That means that after six years here she is a sister of this community, with full privileges, voice, and responsibilities). We sang, chanted, drummed, laughed, cried, and greeted guests from Mexico and Wyoming and Washington D.C. as well as from other religious orders in the Episcopal church. Bishop Roskam said something to the effect that in light of the financial crises here and around the world, this day is like an anti-dote or an answer or a response to fear and insecurity. One woman says “yes” to God in the context of a particular community and an alternate way of life.

Terri Heyduk, (the local priest from St. Andrew’s, Brewster) preached, drawing us into the image of one of Lily Tomlin’s old characters: Ernestine the telephone operator. “One ringy-dingie, two ringy-dingies, three ringy-dingies … a Gracious Good Afternoon! Is this the party to whom I am speaking?” From there, she drew us into the call of God and this particular sister and her love and her gifts. She didn’t know that we often reference Ernestine in our casual conversation around here.

A profession reminds everyone of the larger context of the kind of commitment monastic life offers. Saying “yes” to the unseen; acting on the hunch that not only is Love there, but this Love is the Love from which every love proceeds. And once you get this far in Love, every love references the One Love.

We have a new camera here at the farm and it can take microscopic pictures. So we’ve been photographing insects, the inside of flowers and vegetables, moth wings, our skin. So, for “recreation” the last two Sunday nights, we put up photos taken during the week on our big projector and screen and looked at bugs. One of the things I appreciate about living in monastic community is the culture of observing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Exclamations of astonishment and wonder – expressions of thrill over those things we can’t normally see – is a habitual practice here. This is good practice.

The closer you look, the more you see.

One Response to “What We Do For Fun”

  1. Martin Wessendorf Says:

    “So we’ve been photographing insects, the inside of flowers and vegetables, moth wings, our skin. ”

    –You DO know how to have fun!

    I do the same thing as a neurobiologist. I hope that that fact lessens neither what you do, nor what I do.

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