Saturday, October 08, 2005

Back at the Monastery .....

Got back a couple hours ago to the monastery, since we have someone making perpetual profession tomorrow. It's a really odd feeling. One end of the dining room had a family in mourning, awaiting a funeral; the other end had a family joyously awaiting the celebration. Lots of hugs among the sisters, lots of "how are you holding up," lots of people taking a couple days off work to be home for a bit. One person was saying that tomorrow will be good, that the community needs it; but all I've been thinking about is the fact that Tess should be the one up there during the ceremony tomorrow. Loss on top of loss on top of loss --- there's no time to grieve before another one gets thrown at you. And between work and classes and meetings and professions and funerals .... there's no time to stop and realize what's happening.

Realized yesterday .... it's a really good thing I like my job. With my biggest thoughts around Tess' death involving my feeling disconnected from the monastery -- if I didn't like my job, I'd probably say "forget it, I quit" and move back home (although I'm too much of a goody-two-shoes to do something like that). But the school is wonderful, the faculty are awesome, and the kids are just amazing. The day after Elaine's wake two weeks ago, I had "Life Lessons with Sr. Stephanie" in my classes -- I told them how I had neices and nephews come up to me after I told a story about Elaine, when they told me just how much it had meant to her (when I had thought I was just being stupid), so Lesson Number One was that "You never know what kind of an effect you have on people." That was the same night that we found out how bad Tess really was, so Life Lesson Number Two was that "You never know how long you'll have someone." But my awesome wonderful caring kids ..... last week they were asking how Tess was, had her family arrived yet, etc. Yesterday, when I told them that she had died, they were asking how her brother (who is beginning treatment for the same kind of cancer) was doing. So they're good kids, and I love my job.

But I worry about us. How much can we take? Another sister who had finished her chemo a couple months back just had to start back up again last week ... and then had a heart cath yesterday. Yeah, yeah, "Keep death daily before your eyes." One of Saint Benedict's lines. We've got it, OK? Can't we move on to the teachings about the order of the psalmody, or how monks should sleep, or the reception of guests, or the tools for good works, or something like that?

So prayers, please, for my community. That we get and/or stay healthy. That the losses stop for a while. That we get some happiness to celebrate for a bit. That this heaviness might dissipate for a bit. That we stop dreading e-mails from the prioress.

Benedict says that our lives should be a perpetual Lent (in terms of continual conversion) .... did he really mean a perpetual Good Friday? Cuz that's what it's beginning to feel like.

Stay safe and healthy, folks. Remember, you have no idea what kind of impact you have on people, and you have no idea how long you'll have them around.

Peace out, and blessings on your journeys.


Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Steph ... you and your Sisters are in my prayers for sure. Not easy .... Hang in there.

10/09/2005 2:26 AM  

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