Last night I walked through the monastery kitchen. A pan of beans sat on the counter, partially shelled. No one was around. It was all I could do just to keep on walking, to leave them out on the counter, and to trust that whoever had stopped mid-task would return.
In any home, but especially one as big as a monastery with as many people as we have, things are in a constant state of transition. Someone brings something so far, stops to tend to something else along the way, and soon picks back up on the original errand. During a quick walk through the monastery I might find a book on the stair landing. A small ice chest on a table. A set of keys outside the chapel. Someone’s mail stacked outside a door. A camera on a side table. A partially-shelled pan of beans on the kitchen counter. All are out of place, but only transiently so, on their way to their ultimate destination. If I make an identical trek 30 minutes later, all these things might well be gone, the various Sisters having picked back up on their original tasks or errands. When something seems out of place, we all just trust that it will soon enough be carried to it’s destination. And soon enough, it is.
A recent retreat group had “transition” as their theme, and although I was not part of their sessions I’ve been thinking about transition ever since. I’ve also thought about the trust required during those times that we feel ourselves to be out of place, betwixt or between, or otherwise out of sorts. This, of course, is our human condition, at least for now. St. Augustine put it so well: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” We may sometimes feel like a book transiently on the landing, but nevertheless we are always en route to our home in God, always trusting that we are being carefully carried in our Lord’s merciful arms.