Tonight I stepped outside for the simplest of errands – to take a bit of cardboard to our recycle bin.
Along the way I found a prayer book left in a windowsill by a Sister who I knew would soon miss it. I stepped into the kitchen and called her floor. “Oh, my,” she said. I got the book back to her.
I then stepped into a guest area to turn off some lights after the last-departing guest. I picked up the key left behind along with the note of gratitude left on the desk.
With the guest area empty, I experimented a bit with nightlights. Which type shines best in a darkened night-time hall?
I then stepped around to the back of Ottilia Hall – our home – and saw across the building a bank of lights like a sky of stars…a building awake and asleep with the inhalation and exhalation of a life lived at work and at rest, at prayer and at play.
I know who lives in every room. One of the rooms is mine. The lights are darkened there now, but will soon be on, wakeful, and then at rest.
This is us. Awake, asleep. At work, at rest. Fully and joyfully alive with the inhalation and exhalation of a life lived to give glory to God through the simplest of gestures and the grandest of efforts and the most earnest fidelity in a most serious and sacred of intention.
This is us. A community brought together through the call of God, each sister a light plucked from the night sky and placed here to be a light in the darkness, to shine like a guide in a darkened night-time hall.
I finally made it to the recycle bin with my bit of cardboard, but not before having wandered through a hallway where I found a book, the kitchen where I made a call, a guest area where I picked up a key and adjusted some lights, and then the backyard, where my heart filled with gratitude for the community that we are, in our simplicity and our complexity, our inhalation and exhalation of effort and rest, the rhythms of prayer and work, of solitude and community…
This is us, living this monastic life. With fidelity. With joy.