Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nuns exist! and they drive pickups, and golfcarts, and beat-up Chevys.

The Abbey Regina Laudis is where I stayed this past week, its in the hills and valleys of the middle of Connecticut somewhere and that place, right now, is GREEN.  As in, earth bendingly GREEN. dappled and shaded and glistening and GRRREEEEN.  Its slightly ahead of us in the way of growing things, and it is lush, and bordering on the edge of chaos in its growth. 
I'm not going to link to the abbey, because you should really look for it, in your own time, and not be fooled by the easy linking that speeds everything up, and leaves us still empty.
I got four nights there, was counciled by Sister Deborah Joseph, because I wanted to be...(on the phone at the guest house, i heard her name as Sister Brother Joseph, and wondered what exactly i had gotten myself into....  dug holes for lillies, planted a dozen or so in a garden of the Lady Abbess..(foundress mother-sister-woman-abbess)... watered excessively, sat down, took pictures, ate a lot of fresh bread with 'fresh butter' and looked longingly at the raw milk and homemade soft cheeses. I dealt with the fact that I am not actually roman catholic but I am in love with the rituals of an ancient church ... and with the oft-difficult-for-me-to-access-God. I went to church services four times a day. The Sisters have at least two more, there are rumors that they have a middle of the night service which the guests are not invited to...this Abbey sings its prayers, they perform something called 'the hours'...a chanting of the Psalms, as far as i can tell.  I don't know exactly why its called 'the hours' but maybe some real Catholic could tell you.
I LOVED IT THERE. it was quiet. i went to church at 6:15, mass at 8, worked in a garden, church at 12, lunch, the afternoon to myself to read and walk and write and mess around with my hair, then vespers at 4 or 5 depending on the day, then dinner... and compline service afterwards which i usually skipped because it was time for calling home...
I was in bed shortly after 8 every night, and awake sometime in the 5 am range, and i loved it.  I'm sure I would have loved to sleep late, but I seriously found the morning prayers to be something of a cool mist for my soul.  whatever happened in the night, or whatever was going on in my internal world, was soothed and cooled by the singing women behind the grate.  Except for when the Sisters were out working in the world, they were cloistered behind wooden grates, and their 'enclosure' holds much mystery and magic for me. They use cellphones to keep track the time, they call each other about their work and needs, they are hip to the groove, in their full habits in the full sun.  I cannot imagine what August is like for them. I do know they do all the haying for their property, also in full habit.  The itch of that image alone almost undoes me. 
One of the things Sister Deborah Joseph (shorten that at your peril, she was a formidably nice woman, human completely through and through, but NOT a debbie jo. ) said to me on my first day was that I had to have the ability to be nurtured.  I confess, this was a humdinger that I have heard before, in different shades, from Chakra Carol, and in my own journal writing.  Heart Walnut anyone? One must be open to accepting tenderness and vulnerability and nurturing, before one can feel them.  I say.
I say, captain.
it was a good beginning.. and much of what i read throughout the four days seemed to leap at me and show me that perhaps the 'work' that I need to do involves more vulnerability and more cessation of self-protection, which of course, scares the hell out of me.
so we will see.
thus concludes part one.  i don't want to talk much about the re-entry into family life except to say that there was vomit when i left AND when i returned, as well as fevered worrisome child behavior. and allergies have made me their bitch.

wait for more, valiant readers!  all four of you. :0


MotherOfGooses said...

I like your comment about linking. It is incessant isn't it? I think I'll think about checking it out for a while before I go back and re-check the name and then google it. Keep some sustenance in the searching.
Getting an "ability to be nurtured" jumped right into my brain. I'll chew on that cud for a while.

Jen said...

What you have described so far is EXACTLY what I imagined you would experience! I am so thrilled for you and the effects (affects?) show in your writing. I sense an airiness.... you seem lighter. Glad you are home and I can't believe how fast those 4 days went. I didn't get a damn thing done while you were gone.

Amanda said...

Just wow. All of it. Reminds me of a novel I recently read but now cannot remmber the name....Sacred Heart something or other by Sarah Dunant? Want me to mail it to you? Email me.