Wednesday, November 14, 2012
No surprise to anyone that knows me or has read my new book that my favorite place in all the world is the monastery. Monastic ground is sacred space to this life. Occasionally my soul feels spiritually disconnected, my heart feels fragile, and my mind feels tired. So, I go to the monastery. The last few days was my first trip back post book publishing and I wondered if it would still be sacred. Would it still hold the wonder? Now that I've researched their practices and documented their lives, would I still feel wonderfully invisible in the choir stalls?
Thankfully, I did. I quickly melded into the community I have come to honor and admire. I closed my eyes and listed as sung vespers washed over my soul. Confusion lessened. Stress released. The bells were calling me to a future and hope. They were calling me.......Home. Maybe not today. But someday.
Speaking of someday, I spent several hours this trip in the Honeycreek Woodlands at their natural burial grounds. I'm sorta dark when it comes to death. I like to talk about it. All of it. I like to discuss when, where, how, why, and what happens. In case you don't believe me, one of my most favorite books is this. No really, it is.
I visited the eco-friendly sites both natural and cremated remains. I talked to the groundskeepers who had fabulous stories and opinions on all things death and burial. The grounds are beautiful. The atmosphere reverent. I'm not "green" per say, but eco-friendly burial makes a lot of sense to me and I'm not done researching it. Of course, I'm also under the impression that once we're gone from here it won't really make a difference. At all.
I returned to the monastery in time to sit in my stall for Compline. Directly across from me was the oldest monk at that monastery. 101 years old. Crouched over the prayer book in front of him, he bowed in all the right places. He knew all the words. Allegedly he'll meet his final resting place before I will. He'll probably meet his Maker before I see Him face to face. And in that moment I was grateful that we live in community together and we'll spend eternity together as well. One God.