October 29, 2007

And I shall have some peace there

Monastery barn

The drive to the monastery took us through small towns, hills of farmland, and woods filled with brilliant colours. I drove with Monking Friend, a longtime friend. We talked the whole way in the car, catching up on news. I've got two kids in college, and she has three. Our lives are changing as our kids get older. The first time we came together to this monastery was ten years ago, and our kids were young. I'd just stopped breastfeeding my youngest so it was the first time I could go anywhere for the weekend. How ten years changes things! Our kids — and we each have four — are all teenagers and adults now.

As the car sped past cornfields and pumpkin patches, we talked about our husbands, our extended families, our work. The conversation grew more introspective as we moved past the roles we play — mother, wife, daughter, sister, teacher or social worker — and begin talking about our emotional lives, our spiritual journeys. We talked about friendships, about projects, about healing.

By the time we reached the narrow winding road that leads up to the monastery, we were analyzing ourselves. We're opposites in many ways, so we always tease each other. I'm an extrovert; she's an introvert. One year, we both spent time figuring out where we fit on the Enneagram, which is an ancient method of understanding personality types. I'm a number four, which is characterized by the "need to feel special," which isn't surprising for someone who grew up with a bunch of sisters close in age. Monking Friend will often tease me about that trait, which is one she does not share. And yet, as a friend, she understands my need to feel special, and she does things like bake banana bread especially for me when we go on retreat.

By the time we pulled onto the grounds of the monastery, we were already feeling talked out and relaxed. We were staying in the East Casa, a little guesthouse tucked just under the big barn, with a bedroom, a tiny kitchen, and a living room. We carried our stuff in and then I sat down gratefully, feeling the peace of the monastery envelope me as I looked out the big windows to the pastures, the hills, and the sheep grazing just outside our window.

View from the window

View through the window of the guest cottage.

17 comments:

Linda said...

Ahhhh..........

kathy a. said...

that sounds so wonderful. i'm always so amazed that you plan so many excursions of various sorts, and draw so much from them. long and deep friendships are the best, and spending time together is restorative; and somehow, i hardly have made time for those things. that is something i want to change in the next couple of years.

YourFireAnt said...

Naked sheep. Agghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

FA

~profgrrrrl~ said...

beautiful photo

nimiecat said...

Great photo! The green is so amazing it's almost sureal.

Cathy said...

It's interesting you posted about talking in a car with your friend, like I did Saturday -- very different, but the same.

The pictures... beautiful. . .

such a sense of peace.

BerryBird said...

I get so much enjoyment from your sheep photos!

Songbird said...

Such beautiful images, the words and the photos.

plainjain said...

I had never heard of enneagrams. I looked them up online they are intriguing. I took a little test and was surprised by the result, but it seems accurate and insightful. I was thinking of buying a book to read more about it. Do you have a recommendation?

east village idiot said...

Can I be you please? Banana bread or not.

Rev Dr Mom said...

Beautiful.

It looks so peaceful there.

Nadine said...

I think I could use a weekend there.

Love the sheep!

jo(e) said...

Plainjain: The two books I have are What's my Type? by Hurley and Dobson and The Enneagram by Rohr and Ebert.

KathyR said...

That last photo is like a dream of a place that I didn't think existed any more.

comebacknikki said...

sheep!!!!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

What a super cool photo! I love it. Once again, wish I could have been there!

Blogger was acting up and I couldn't post a comment all day!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I did see BOTH photos and read the wonderful story, but by the time blogger let me post, I forgot all the wonderful things--ha ha--that I'd intended to say.