Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Although I spend most of my year teaching in Louisville and living in one of our monastery's mission houses, I am now "home" at the monastery motherhouse in Ferdinand for the Christmas break. Whenever I stay at the monastery, I have a room in one of the houses that we have on campus that we like to call The Farm House as it is located down a little gravel path, just past some of the barns leftover from days when our land was an active farm. It's a little bit of a hike from the main monastery buildings, where I spend most of my days, to the little house on the edge of the woods, where I spend my nights. I usually enjoy the short walk out to the house, but sometimes I find myself hoping to see one of our sisters taking a car as she heads out to work or to the store or to any other errand that might call sisters away for the day. Last night was one of those nights. It was cold and windy and dark and I had forgotten my sturdy tennis shoes for the walk home. As I headed out of the back door of the monastery, I was kind of dragging my feet, hoping somebody would come along and offer me a ride to the house. No such luck! It appeared I'd have to make the trek by foot.

I headed down the back hill and made the turn toward the house. Just then I happened to glance over toward the grotto hill area of our grounds. The Christmas lights were turned on and I had yet to see the hill lit up in all its glory. Just as I was noticing how nicely the area was decorated this year, I felt something cold on my nose. Then I felt another, and another and I realized that it was snowing!

I stopped dead in my tracks, transfixed my the world around me. Snow falling silently to the ground, Christmas lights blazing as a sign of the days to come, wooden cutouts of three wise men making their way slowly to the baby Jesus. At that moment, I stopped cursing the sisters who didn't come by and save me from the dark walk home. Instead, I thanked God for the amazing opportunity I'd been given. Had I taken a car I would have missed the first snow of the season. I would have missed the beautiful view of our grotto, and I would have missed seeing God in the everyday glory that surrounds me!

Merry Christmas!

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