Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Lament of the Lonely Cornflake

Well, in the intrest of proving that I can be creative, I figured I'd go back a few years into the vault. Part of our monastic formation includes taking classes at the nearby seminary/school of theology; the first class that we all take over there is Psalms and Prayer. In an effort to learn the various elements, we were required to write some various psalms and prayers of our own. And, since the instructor was more concerned that we had the format and other essentials understood (chiasms, parallels, and all those other big words), we had some flexibility with the topic about which we prayed and/or psalmed.

Thus, the day came when we had to write a lament -- complete with the ending of hope that God will pull us through. My one thought was to write a lament about the fact that I couldn't think of anything about which to write a lament. However, after having only been in the monastery one month, I had nevertheless been there long enough to learn that, in this very German community, even godliness isn't next to cleanliness. One of our jobs was to clean the dining room, a dining room that served probably about 75 sisters on a regular basis, with more on weekends. And yet, I use the word "clean" very loosely. For, in my mind, in order to clean, there must be something to clean. We cleaned invisible dirt. My jackpot was the day when I had two cheerios and a rice krispie in my "pile." (Yet, there was the day when, while cleaning church I found a couple pieces of popcorn?!?!?)

Therein lies the inspiration for the psalm of lament I am about to share with you.

The Lament of the Lonely Cornflake
Oh great God, creator of all that is good,
you made all things of this earth;
all things of earth reflect your glory.
˙˙Sun and moon, wind and rain
˙˙Wheat and chaff, corn and husk
˙˙Froot and Loop.
Why then, Oh Lord, do you allow them to mock me?
They call me a flake and scoff at me;
at my simplicity they thumb their oaty o's.
They say I don't have the rank of the crunchy captain,
or the magical deliciousness and luck of the charmed marshmallows.
And you, oh great chef, feed into their insults,
by lettting me fall to the depths of the underfoot.
I am nothing but flattened corn.
Is that how I fell out of your flavor?
No bowl for me,
˙˙no tray, no cupped hand.
No, you cast me out into the netherfloor,
where not even the spiders spin their home.
Oh, curse this "vessel of the altar*,"
this monastic cleanliness leaves me no neighbor in my distress.
Oh, hear the lament of the lonely cornflake;
of my mournful cries take heed.
But still I place my trust in the Lord that formed me;
I put my hope in the one who pulled me from the cob.
Even if you will not deliver me from my plight,
˙˙you will deliver me some spilled milk in which to swim.
You will grind mine enemies into compost,
You will let that Rabbit get his Trix.
Oh great God, creator of all that is good,
Deliver me into your goodness.

*In the Rule of Benedict, the monastic is told to "treat all things as sacred vessels of the altar" – it's the idea of stewardship, of taking care of everything, that the hoe used out in the field should be just as carefully cleaned after use as the chalice after Mass.


Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...

My sister's favorite punchline - "Silly Rabbi. Kicks are for Trids."

I have no idea what the joke was, but it seemed to fit.

Peace my friend,

1/26/2006 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/26/2006 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*ROFLMBO!!!!* I LOVE that!!!! You are the coolest nun I have ever known!

One question, though. How in the WORLD did you end up a monastic??


1/26/2006 7:53 PM  
Blogger AveMaria1 said...

That was soooo cute!
Love ya!

1/27/2006 12:06 AM  
Blogger seeking_something said...

Give that nun an "A!"

1/27/2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger *Christopher said...

Sr. Steph,

This is a simply marvelous. That line from the Rule is one of my favorites, and one I meditate upon often. BTW: I know that German penchant for cleanliness well; I emphathize, though I must say that penchant also means on the bright side that things in the care of Germans (or the Dutch as well) are always in good shape.

1/27/2006 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol -- the best we did when writing our laments was to come up with "Of Bob" as the title for all of our Psalms, as a joke to the fellow who asked "Do we have to name them for ourselves like David did?" The whole class called theirs, "Of Bob." I like yours so much better. :)

1/27/2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger Quotidian Grace said...

LOL--this is great!

1/28/2006 10:43 AM  
Blogger see-through faith said...


blessings. Are you doing any better. You remain in my prayers and I thank you for starting the 90 day Bible thing - it's been really precious to me

1/28/2006 3:19 PM  
Blogger LutheranChik said...

LOL! I had a family of German aunts who really did give other relatives' kitchen appliances the white glove test; who ironed socks; etc. So I can relate. (This cleanliness gene somehow did not get transmitted to me; just tonight, after spilling some coffee beans all over my kitchen floor, I had to sweep under the stove...and it was not pretty.)

More seriously...ever read/listen to Cynthia Bourgeault? She has a great series of tapes on praying the Psalms.

1/28/2006 8:47 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I look forward to seeing you in the 'Smartypants' line in the afterlife. Perhaps we can hurl spitballs at Pat Robertson.

1/29/2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger AveMaria1 said...

Just lookin' for a new post.."sigh"..

1/30/2006 12:10 PM  

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