October 29, 2007
And I shall have some peace there
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 through the window of the guest cottage.
Posted by jo(e)