Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In Communion

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted on the blog. It has been a month of chapter meetings: first in Brisbane, Australia, then on Long Island, NY at Little Portion. Both meetings were good and interesting.

But combine jet lag with meeting-lag and I didn't have much juice in my batteries!

These past few days, however, I've been able to get back up on my feet and begin to do some things. Most enjoyably, I've been gardening. I've got blisters to prove it, and the flower boxes are now brimming with marigolds, shrubs have been pruned and the terraces swept. It is hard to do this around Little Portion without thinking abut all the brothers before me who have popped their blisters doing the same tasks. I feel very closely connected with them, part of the continuity of religious life, the "Quotidian Mysteries" Kathleen Norris writes about. Every day mystery of communion with brothers, nature, God: the communion of saints and the communion of the cosmos.

As I swept this morning I remember how Jon and I would watch the bees and drink coffee together next to the herb garden, resting from weeding. Jason would smoke his pipe and spend his summer evenings joyously weeding a lush English border he'd planted next to the arbor. Dunstan still weeds with a table fork and has a personal relationship with every bulb and bush ever planted at Little Portion, as well as living on a first name basis with the chipmunks and the birds.

Yesterday I was running along Shore Road, along Mt. Sinai Harbor, and a box turtle was just edging out onto the road. Fearing for its safety I snatched it up and carried it across the road: power to the box turtle!

Inside I typed up all the Norms and Policies for the Province so that they could be restored to our Manuals. These too are a trip down memory lane. Every Norm, which is really a statement about things we have agreed upon as a chapter, is a story. I remember why we said we wanted brothers to learn Spanish. I remember why we agonized for a long time over job descriptions. There are older norms about participating in demonstrations: I can just hear the brothers debating it, and the differing points of view. These ancestor brothers still have a vote, as their opinions have been captured in the Provincial Norms.

1 comment:

Barbara Hoffman said...

Hi Brother Clark. I'm hoping you remember me. I am a friend of Lorena Dougherty's and I sang and played guitar at your Irish Cellies. We also danced together at Lorena's wedding. I remember you were a great dancer. I attended many blessing of the animals at your friary and since I retired and moved to Pa. I have been involved with using therapy dogs to help children. My dog Libby just received a commendation from the mayor for her work as a reading dog. I am also one of the directors of music at the Landenberg Methodist Church and I am planning a Blessing of the Animals. I spoke to one of your brothers about having someone(s) from the friary come out and do the blessings. Many of our therapy teams are from the Landenberg church. I am waiting for the brothers decision now. I have advertised them as a possibility but also have a local reverend ready as plan B. My husband and I ahve a large place in the Brandywine Valley. We have horses and we are just across the street from a sheep farm. It is indeed a spiritual and restful place. I remember the friary and its occupants fondly. I think the brothers would find a special attachment to this place. We have comfortable room for 9 people and I could arrange an honorarium which would defray your travel expenses. I hope they say yes! I would also like to talk to one of the brothers about leaving a charitable donation in a will. I know this is probably not the place I should be leaving this epistle, but I did not find an email address that I could contact you at. Barbara Hoffman (formerly of Brookhaven, L.I.) kbhoffman@verizon.net.